JoNova

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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HockeyStick, finally updated with modern trees, collapses

You’ll be shocked that after decades of studying 800 year old tree rings, someone has finally found some trees living as long ago as 2005. These rarest-of-rare tree rings have been difficult to find, compared to the rings circa Richard III. The US government may have spent $30 billion on climate research, but that apparently wasn’t enough to find trees on SheepMountain living between the vast treeless years of 1980 to now.

I’ve always thought it spoke volumes that many tree ring proxies ended in 1980, as if we’d cut down the last tree to launch the satellites in 1979. We all know that if modern tree rings showed that 1998 was warmer than 1278, the papers would have sprung forth from Nature, been copied in double page full-fear features in New Scientist, and would  feature in the IPCC logo too.

Ponder that the MBH98 study was so widely cited, repeated, and used ad nauseum. It was instrumental in shaping the views of many policy makers, journalists, and members of the public, most of whom probably still believe it. The real message here is about the slowness of the scientific community to correct the problems in this paper.

Steve [...]

Excuse Files: Arctic treemometers measure sunlight too

The Satirical Times

Mother Nature has issued a disguised voluntary recall notice for Arctic Treemometers. Sold as a way of measuring temperatures over the last two millennium, they turned out to fail frequently, even going against trends in most other thermometers in the last half century. The flaw has been quietly recognized for years, but is rarely mentioned in polite circles.

Critics wonder why it took Mother Nature so long to issue the recall and why it is so qualified and partial. They point out that these safety warnings only seem to appear when product salesmen are also offering a repair kit for sale too.

In this case Stine and Huybers tell us they can fix the “divergence” problem with treemometers by considering incoming light. Treemometers are failing, they say, because of global dimming and inconvenient volcanoes. As long as sunlight reaches trees the treemometers work. (Critics dryly reply that it’s hardly news that sunlight affects tree growth, and that they never bought the tree-ring data in any case.)

Meanwhile Mann-made Treemometers Inc issued a statement in 4-point Roman Half-Uncial script at 3am saying that their Treemometers are as accurate as ever in all locations where cloud cover, [...]

Messages from the global raw rural data. Warnings, gotcha’s and tree ring divergence explained!

Have you wondered what the global raw rural data tells us?

What did those thermometers say before the adjustments, smoothing, selection, and averaging?

This just might be the first time anyone has publicly compared the global raw data to published adjusted data sets in this way.

Frank Lansner has been dedicated in the extreme, and has developed a comprehensive Rural Unadjusted Temperature Index, or RUTI. One of the most interesting points to come out of this extensive work is the striking difference between coastal stations and inland stations. Frank kept noticing that the trend of the inland stations was markedly different from coastal stations and island stations.

Fig1. Red-Blue lines mark regions where there was a different coastal to inland trend. In green areas the two trends were similar.

What he finds is perhaps not so unusual: The coastal areas are heavily influenced by the sea surface temperature. Inland stations record larger rises and falls in temperature, which is hardly surprising. But, the implications are potentially large. When records from some stations are smoothed over vast distances (as in 1200 km smoothing), results can be heavily skewed by allowing coastal trends to be smoothed across inland areas. What Lansner [...]

Hide the decline and rewrite history?

Human emissions of carbon dioxide began a sharp rise from 1945. But, temperatures, it seems, may have plummeted over half the globe during the next few decades. Just how large or how insignificant was that decline?

Frank Lansner has found an historical graph of northern hemisphere temperatures from the mid 70′s, and it shows a serious decline in temperatures from 1940 to 1975. It’s a decline so large that it wipes out the gains made in the first half of the century, and brings temperatures right back to what they were circa 1910. The graph was not peer reviewed, but presumably it was based on the best information available at the time. In any case, if all the global records are not available to check, it’s impossible to know how accurate or not this graph is. The decline apparently recorded was a whopping 0.5°C.

But, three decades later, by the time Brohan and the CRU graphed temperatures in 2006 from the same old time period, the data had been adjusted (surprise), so that what was a fall of 0.5°C had become just a drop of 0.15°C. Seventy percent of the cooling was gone.

Maybe they had good reasons for making [...]

Breaking news: Cherry Picking of Historic Proportions

A big news day. It appears Steve McIntyre (volunteer unpaid auditor of Big-Government-Science) has killed the Hockey Stick a second time…

The details are on the last three days of Steve McIntyre’s site Climate Audit, and summed up beautifully on Watts Up.

The sheer effrontery and gall appears to be breathtaking.

The Briffa temperature graphs have been widely cited as evidence by the IPCC, yet it appears they were based on a very carefully selected set of data, so select, that the shape of the graph would have been totally transformed if the rest of the data had been included.

Kieth Briffa used 12 samples to arrive at his version of the hockey stick and refused to provide his data for years. When McIntyre finally got hold of it, and looked at the 34 samples that Briffa left out of his graphs, a stark message was displayed.  McIntyre describes it today as one of the most disquieting images he’s ever presented.

[...]