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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Notching up open review improvements – a correction to Part III

Flagging an update (coming) to Big News Part III

Score 1 for open science review, thanks to Bernie Hutchins, an electrical engineer who diligently asked the right questions about something that bothered him regarding the notching effect. We’re grateful. This will improve the model. On the downside, it means we’re slightly less certain of the delay (darn) — the notch doesn’t guarantee a delay as we had previously thought. But there is independent evidence suggesting temperatures on Earth follow solar activity with a one cycle delay — the lag seen in studies like Archibald, Friis-Christainsen and Usoskin is still a lag.

What does it mean? The step-response graph (figure 2 in Part III or figure 4 in Part IV) will change, and needs to be redone. The reason for assuming there is a delay, and building it into the model, rests now on the independent studies, and not on the notch. The new step change will need to be built into the model, and in a few weeks we’ll know how the predictions or hindcasting change. David feels reasonably sure it won’t make much difference to the broad picture, because a step-response something like figure 4, Part IV, explains global warming [...]

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 [...]