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Too funny. Roy Spencer invented satellite temperature analysis, gets called “a blogger”

Careful Cheryl Jones, your groupthink is showing. She’s a science writer who writes today in The Australian about “climate bets”, but without seemingly using The Internet.

Here’s how she describes Roy Spencer:

Although a blogger, Spencer does publish research in the scientific journals. He was not surprised that Newman had invoked his name. “I’ve testified in the United States Congress probably half a dozen times,” he tells The Australian. “My name is out there.”

To put this in perspective, this is Roy Spencer, Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He’s not just a climate scientist either.  Roy Spencer and John Christy were the first two scientists to develop a method for getting temperatures from satellites, and the pair won NASA’s Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement, and the American Meteorological Society’s “Special Award.” But Roy does write an excellent blog…

No sure bets in the climate debate

Cheryl Jones, The Australian

LAST summer, Nobel laureate Brian Schmidt challenged Tony Abbott’s chief business adviser Maurice Newman to bet $10,000 that the Earth’s average surface temperature would be lower in 20 years than now.

If Cheryl Jones had gone so far as to type “climate bets” into a search engine she’d know that two Australians called David Evans and Jo Nova already have one of the largest climate wagers going and have offered to take up Brian Schmidt’s bet as well. (Would you believe, that other large bet was with a Brian Schmidt, but not the same one?).

Jones would also know that Schmidt’s bet makes him practically a skeptic. He’s betting on a complete IPCC failure. No one who believed the IPCC would offer such a weak benchmark: “no warming” for another 20 years. Schmidt’s bet is an admission all the IPCC predictions were wrong.

“Global temperatures have gone nowhere for 17 years,” wrote Newman, chairman of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council and former chairman of the Australian Securities Exchange and the ABC.

He continued with a quotation from a blog posted by climate scientist Roy Spencer, of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, a sceptic and strong critic of the models.

Poor readers of The Australian might come away thinking that silly Maurice Newman was just relying on a blog post. Instead Newman is taking the safe side of one of the most awarded and notable climate scientists of our time, while poor Brian Schmidt, albeit a Nobel winner in astronomy, probably hasn’t even published a blog post on the climate, let alone a paper.

While acknowledging that the models are imperfect, climate scientists say the sophisticated computer programs have performed well in projections covering longer timescales.

That’s right, climate model projections to 2100 remain intact, untouched by reality. But 98% of their predictions from the last 20 years have met reality and reality won. Indeed they not only fail on global scales, but on regional, local, short term, tropical, polar, and upper tropospheric scales too. They fail on rainfall, drought and they fail on clouds.  A skeptic’s job is easy. Nature seems to be on our side. (Of course, that’s not a coincidence.)

They say there is strong evidence, including ever-rising sea levels, that the planet continued to warm this century. Global mean surface temperature – the air temperature measured by convention 1.5 metres above the ground – is only one of many measures of climate change. But it is a major one used in international negotiations on limiting climate change, according Britain’s Met Office Hadley Centre.

Dear Cheryl, 70% of the global mean surface is water, and 90% of the energy is held in the oceans. What we don’t have is good data on that. Are the oceans warming? If you believe that ocean buoys can measure temperatures of the 1.3 billion cubic kilometer global ocean to one hundreths of a degree, you might use the phrase “strong evidence”. Scientists though, would not. Plus, not only are ocean trends not statistically significant, but the rate of sea level rise has slowed too. IPCC climate scientists didn’t see that coming either.

I think the  real problem is that Jones is talking about imaginary people:

But greenhouse sceptics, and those who reject that label but oppose the scientific consensus on global warming…

Who is she talking about? Not Roy Spencer, not Maurice Newman, and not any of the main players or bloggers in the climate debate. The label “greenhouse skeptic”, is meaningless, as is the phrase about opposing the scientific consensus on global warming. Virtually everyone in this debate agrees the world has warmed.

These “greenhouse skeptics” as she calls them ” …have claimed that the deceleration in surface warming is evidence that the IPCC and wider climate science community have exaggerated the risks of climate change.”

Actually IPCC climate scientists like Hans von Storch have pointed out that 98% of the models are now wrong, the pause, or the hiatus shows the models have no skill.

They have attempted to use the discrepancy between simulations and observations to discredit the models’ projections.

Those imaginary people called greenhouse skeptics may have “attempted”  to use this discrepancy — but who cares? The models discredit themselves, skeptical scientists (is there any other kind?) didn’t have to do anything except point to the facts.

Another Schmidt (Gavin) provides professional excuses for the failure:

Gavin Schmidt, a climate modeller at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, in New York, tells The Australian that a lack of good observational data available when the experiments were conducted led to input values for aerosol concentrations that were probably too low.

He says a dramatic increase in particulate pollution from India and China during the past 15 years has raised aerosol levels greatly, and the models differ widely in how they handle aerosols.

And the current solar cycle has been less active than the last one, so the models overestimated the amount of incoming solar radiation.

“There is a case to be made that the modellers were unlucky in a bunch of different things, which has meant that in the very short-term trend in the last 10 years or so they (the models) are running slightly warm,” he says.

Translated, this means, climate modelers admit their models don’t work, but they might have looked good if they got lucky.

Cheryl Jones digs up Ben Santer and others to make sure no excuse is left unsaid, and they cover the mysterious force of nature called “a pattern of natural variability”. With roaming unexplainable patterns affecting the Earth, what could any respectable climate scientist do?

Matthew England digs out the global wind excuse, but skeptical scientists just wonder about cause and effect. If internal variability can warm, it can also cool, and skeptics wonder which God switched on “internal variability” in the last 17 years, or whether possibly internal variability was doing the warming before it started doing the cooling?

We skeptics note that England has finally discovered what skeptics have been saying for years, he’s revising his predictions and moving much closer to the skeptic position. He still owes Nick Minchin an apology.

Steve Sherwood gets a chance to add confusion and fear.

The problem of the big spread in the values remains, but it might have been solved by a group led by Steven Sherwood, also a professor at the UNSW’s Climate Change Research Centre.

The team found that the spread could be attributed largely to the various ways in which the models treated the feedback from clouds, which amplify the greenhouse effect in ways that have been poorly understood.

So the models “poorly understood” what clouds did and they cover 60% of the planet, but never mind. The science is settled. (Give us your money.)

Sherwood’s team traced the mechanism to atmospheric convective mixing, and published its results in Nature in January.

Sherwood tells The Australian the research implies that a doubling of carbon dioxide levels would trigger a temperature rise of more than 3C – relatively severe warming – so the values at the lower end of the range should now be considered suspect.

And if the climate models has used Sherwood’s current estimates of climate sensitivity they would have been even more wrong than they were. Right? But this is the man who changed the color scales of his graphs in order to find the hot spot that wasn’t there.

Anytime Cheryl Jones wants to start doing some research for her articles I’ll be happy to help. First up, I’ll suggest using a search engine…

This article was pure one-sided climate porn, but watch the Murdoch haters continue to chant that The Australian is waging  a war on science.


England, M.H., S McGregor, P. Spence, G.A. Meehl, A Timmermann, W. Cai, A.S. Gupta, M.J. McPhaden, A. Purich and A. Santosos, 2014. Recent intensification of wind-driven circulation in the Pacific and the ongoing warming hiatus. Nature Climate Change (online: 9 February 2014) DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2106




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