THE 2012 GOLDEN HORSESHOE AWARD – David Rose of the Daily Mail

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(Continuing the Tradition of the Climate BS Awards)


Following on a tradition started by Peter Gleick, this is an attempt to review the most misleading climate stories of 2012. As suggested by Eli, we will rename this from the “Bad Science” (or “BS”) award to the “Golden Horseshoe Award”.

Here we are following in the footsteps of Gavin Schmidt, who recalls this snippet describing a bar called the Golden Horseshoe, from a novel of that name by Dashiell Hammett:

I was reading a sign high on the wall behind the bar:

‘Only genuine pre-war British and American whiskeys served here’

I was trying to count how many lies could be found in those nine words, and had reached four, with promise of more …”

Since there are several ways in which Climate BS can interfere with a sane and competent conversation, I decided to categorize the various communicationdisasters into a few categories, with the overall winner getting the Golden Horseshoe Award.

So without further ado, the envelopes please…


– for the most extravagant BS 

WINNERAlec Rawls at wattsupwiththat

THE BS –  that IPCC has acknowledged that there is strong evidence that some sort of ineffable magical solar forcing other than energy dominates the recent global temperature record.

CLAIM – Alec Rawls was the person who violated a commitment to confidentiality and released a draft version of the IPCC AR5 First
Working Group report.

His justification was that “As for my personal confidentiality agreement with the IPCC, I regard that as vitiated by the systematic dishonesty of the report”. And as evidence of this systematic dishonesty he points to what he calls “an astounding bit of honesty, a killing admission thatcompletely undercuts the main premise and the main conclusion of the full report, revealing the fundamental dishonesty of the whole”.

(err, right, sure…)

Specifically the statement that “Many empirical relationships have been reported between GCR or cosmogenic isotope archives and some aspects of the climate system” is taken as “admitting” that there is “strong evidence for enhanced solar forcing beyond total solar irradiance”.

This is an unusually transparent piece of BS, but inasmuch as it was accompanied by a leak of the WGI draft, it received some undue attention as a claim.


First of all, let’s consider that IPCC lets anyone vet its drafts. Pretty much anyone may volunteer to be an IPCC reviewer provided he or she agrees to the embargo on publication of drafts. As evidence in support, consider that Lord Christopher Monckton himself proudly claims “IPCC reviewer” on his resume. Clearly the barriers to entry are not all that difficult to surmount.

The leak itself was arguably (as Eli in his inimitable fashion argues) to be expected and not especially damaging.

As for Rawls’ claim itself, it requires little research to reveal itself as empty. First of all, despite the presumable intense ethical concern regarding violation of the “vitiated” agreement to confidentiality, the claim is transparently ill-thought out. The quoted statement simply says that “many empirical relationships have been reported”. This could easily be taken as scientific diplomacy for “dubious correlations that somehow made it past peer review. Indeed that is what I take it for. You?

The obvious question is whether the empirical relationships could be of exactly the sort that data fishing reliably reveals.

Dana Nuccitelli managed to rip this whole absurd posture to shreds on SkS in remarkably short order (saving the rest of us the trouble).

This was worth the effort because of the high profile of the claim. And it’s worth an award as well on that account. On its own merits but it was a pretty shoddy effort, though, and in the end the result was an”own goal” from the skeptics squad since it is so obviously silly. Dana concludes:

To sum up,

* The leaked IPCC report states that there may be some connection between GCRs and some aspects of the climate system.

* However, the report is also consistent with the body of scientific literature in stating that research indicates GCRs are not effective at seeding clouds and have very little influence on global temperatures.

* Solar activity has been nearly flat and slightly decreasing in recent decades, meaning that if GCRs do amplify solar influences on climate, they are amplifying a cooling effect.


Unfortunately, we seem to be looking at the first of a series of more or less
willful misreadings of AR5 coming up from Tony Watts and his crew.




– for obliviousness to defeat

WINNER – Roger Pielke Jr., for confidently and stridently estimating a relatively low impact for Hurricane Sandy just before impact, and then quietly dropping the issue.


Many Roger Pielke Jr  tweets show an unaccountable inclination, in the light of the disaster, to try to lowball the estimates of the damage.


It’s rather inexplicable, since a single outlier should not much affect his habitual claim that there is no trend in hurricane damage, and in particular the damage to New York City infrastructure is sui generis and so the dollar amount is not really indicative of a climate signal.

But Roger apparently is inclined against anything that looks like a signal in the damage record, since he has staked out a reverse-scientific territory trumpeting a null result there. (It’s interesting how climate attracts people willing to celebrate and overemphasize null results, unlike other fields which err on the side of burying them. Perhaps this is a clear symptom of post-normalcy?)


Reality bites back.

Alas, no sign of reconsideration from Roger; just a quiet changing of the subject.


A single storm really can never settle the case for climate change be wholly attributed to climate change alone, but Sandy combined several observational trendsconnected with climate change- an empirical increase in area of tropical storms, an an empirical and theoretically expected increase in sea surface temperatures – an empirical andtheoretically expected increase in the meridional extent of ridges and troughs – and the obvious though relatively minor player of increased sea level.

Few single events to date are more easily categorized as climate change related than Sandy.

This does not prove that there is trend to an increase in economic damage potential from Atlantic hurricanes in the US.

That may be an important social measure, and its trend may still be undetectable. Which is to say that Roger has a point, albeit not an enormously important one. That doesn’t mean that Sandy is not a reasonable model for the sorts of unexpected events that climate change will bring. And it certainly doesn’t constitute a reason to try to dismiss the tragic impacts of that event.


for the person or institution who does the most damage overall during the year with Bad Science.

WINNER – The first winner of the Rupert Murdoch award is Rupert Murdoch


“The green energy stuff—I mean, that’s—that’s all a hoax and a fraud based on another hoax and fraud, global warming.” (Fox News Channel, 3/23/12)

“We are in the middle of what you might call a global warming bubble. It is a failure of the global warming theory itself and of the credibility of its advocates…” (Wall Street Journal column, 3/9/2012)

“The lack of any statistically significant warming for over a decade…” (Wall Street Journal op-ed, 5/27/12)

“I thought we were getting warmer. But in the ‘70s, it was, look out, we’re all going to freeze.” (Fox News Channel, 4/11/12)


The Union of Concerned Scientists has issued a white paper about the role of Murdoch’s closely held News Corporation in the climate science debate.

RUNNER UP – Tony Watts, who does much less damage than Murdoch, but tries valiantly.

SECOND RUNNER UP – Marc Morano, who can’t even manage to do as much damage as Watts does, despite generous funding from someplace, probably a 501c3 shell for extracting money from rich old cranks, but who knows.



for pointless distraction

WINNER – Shared by the whole false-skeptic crowd but let’s single out the particularly horrifying James Taylor (not the singer) of the Heartland Institute.

CLAIM – We can be indifferent to shrinking Arctic sea ice because Antarctic sea ice is setting new records.


NPR failed to mention anywhere in its article that Antarctic sea ice has been growing since satellites first began measuring the ice 33 years ago and the sea ice has been above the 33-year average throughout 2012.

Indeed, none of the mainstream media are covering this important story. A Google News search of the terms Antarctic, sea ice and record turns up not a single article on the Antarctic sea ice record. Amusingly, page after page of Google News results for Antarctic sea ice record show links to news articles breathlessly spreading fear and warning of calamity because Arctic sea ice recently set a 33-year low.

Sea ice around one pole is shrinking while sea ice around another pole is growing. This sure sounds like a global warming crisis to me.


Most writing on Antarctic sea ice comes from the false skeptic crowd, because while Antarctic seasonal ice is setting modest new maxima, it’s drastically less important than that perennial Arctic ice is likely to vanish altogether in the near future, probably for the first time in hundreds of thousands of years.

I will start off by stealing a nice turn of phrase from Greg Laden:

“One of the most commonly winged-about facts of Earth’s climate change

we hear from science denialists is that sea ice in the Antarctic is
increasing, therefore, there is no global warming”

“winged-about”. Nice.

For one thing, there is progress in explaining how Antarctic sea ice increases fit in to the big picture. Again via Greg Laden, this
NASA press release

“This new research also helps explain why observed changes in the amount of sea ice cover are so different in the two polar regions. The Arctic has experienced dramatic ice losses in recent decades, while the overall ice extent in the Antarctic has increased slightly. However, this small Antarctic increase is actually the result of much larger regional increases and decreases, which are now shown to be caused by wind-driven changes. In places, increased northward winds have caused the sea ice cover to expand outwards from Antarctica. In contrast, the Arctic Ocean is surrounded by land, so changed winds cannot cause Arctic ice to expand in the same way.

“The Antarctic sea ice cover interacts with the global climate system very differently than that of the Arctic, and these results highlight the sensitivity of the Antarctic ice coverage to changes in the strength of the winds around the continent,” said Kwok.


This matters because it feeds on old confusion from back when the growth or shrinkage of the Antarctic ice sheet was ambiguous. As noted on Skeptical Science:

Skeptic arguments that Antarctica is gaining ice frequently hinge on an error of omission, namely ignoring the difference between land ice and sea ice.

It’s this confusion that gives this particular piece of BS some extra cogency. It revives the genuine uncertainty of a few tears ago about the direction of the change of the Antarctic ice sheet. We now have gravitational data that confirms accelerating Antarctic ice sheet decay, and this is important for sea level. (Taylor’s article refers to a Watts Up article focusing on an outlier study from years ago). The presence or absence of seasonal sea ice in the Antarctic winter is a real component to climate change, but its impact is tiny compared to either perennial Arctic sea ice loss (which impacts the albedo in the brighter seasons and thus climate in middle latitudes in the Northern hemisphere) or Antarctic continental ice mass loss (which impacts sea level.)


The most brazenly damaging and malign Bad Science of 2013

WINNER – David Rose and the Daily Mail

CLAIM – There is no recent sign of global warming (twice!)


Amazingly, though the first such claim was solidly rebutted by no leass than the UK Met Office in January essentially the same claim was made in October!

The Met Office rejected it yet again, thus:

The linear trend from August 1997 (in the middle of an exceptionally strong El Nino) to August 2012 (coming at the tail end of a double-dip La Nina) is about 0.03°C/decade, amounting to a temperature increase of 0.05°C over that period, but equally we could calculate the linear trend from 1999, during the subsequent La Nina, and show a more substantial warming. As we’ve stressed before, choosing a starting or end point on short-term scales can be very misleading. Climate change can only be detected from multi-decadal timescales due to the inherent variability in the climate system. If you use a longer period from HadCRUT4 the trend looks very different. For example, 1979 to 2011 shows 0.16°C/decade (or 0.15°C/decade in the NCDC dataset, 0.16°C/decade in GISS). Looking at successive decades over this period, each decade was warmer than the previous – so the 1990s were warmer than the 1980s, and the 2000s were warmer than both. Eight of the top ten warmest years have occurred in the last decade. <—-

The MVP for the good guys continues to be Dana Nuccitelli at SkS, republished at the Guardian

Of maybe the MVP is Peter Sinclair! He joined in the fun here:

Look, guys, this is utter bilge. We have explained it to you over and over again. There’s even this really hard-to-argue-with picture, usually called “up-the-down-escalator”, so you can remember it:


Please give it a rest.


1) It’s disinegenuous and is usually used to bolster claims that are flatly wrong

2) Clear and cogent rebuttals exist and are systematically ignored

3) It was brazenly repeated by the same person (in the same newspaper) despite being corrected by the national meteorological service of his own country to whose data he claimed to refer!

4) It is widely repeated inside the “epistemically closed” circle of climate-change naysayers, has become a matter of faith, and compounds their confusion

5) It was published in a major mass media periodical and this contributes to confusion among the general public

(None of this stopped Professor Judith Curry from taking it seriously, but that’s hardly news.)

Anyway this piece of persistent BS should be exposed and attacked. Let’s keep it front and center for a while, until we can convince most people it is the arrant nonsense that it is.

Unfortunately, we may have an easier time in the future, since it’s entirely possible that Global Warming will soon have started its latest hiatus in 2013. Honestly, the pleasure of saying “I told ya so” won’t really be all that much compensation.


Peter Gleick, Aaron Huertas, Greg Laden, Dan Moutal, Dana Nucciteli, Eli Rabbet, Joe Romm, Gavin Schmidt, Peter Sinclair, Kevin Trenberth.



  1. Tut tut: "following in the footsteps of Gavin Schmidt". No, the original is Some Are Boojums ( If you look closely at Gavin's "*" you'll see he does attribute properly.

    Now I'll read the rest of the post 🙂

  2. Pingback: The Climate Change Debate Thread - Page 2004

  3. Thanks for the award. I have already picked out a spot on the wall for my 24 karat golden horseshoe and eagerly await its arrival. Is that gullible of me? No where near as gullible as David Rose swallowing Dana Nuccitelli's "rebuttal" hook line and sinker.

    Dana claims that solar activity peaked around 1980, after which it followed a downward trend, and reasons that if there WERE a strong solar effect, it would therefore have been in the cooling direction during the 80s and 90s. Set aside the fact that solar activity actually peaked a decade later (solar cycle 22, which peaked in 91, was stronger by almost every measure than cycle 21). Does anyone here actually think that near-peak levels of forcing cause cooling, just because the very peak of forcing has been passed?

    Does the day stop warming at noon? Does the season stop warming after the summer solstice (the first day of summer)? And yet Mr. Rose not only swallows Nuccitelli's utterly unscientific rebuttal, but he actually quotes Nuccitelli's "reasoning" without realizing there is anything wrong with it:

    "Solar activity has been nearly flat and slightly decreasing in recent decades, meaning that if GCRs do amplify solar influences on climate, they are amplifying a cooling effect."

    Solar activity was a "grand maximum" levels until 2000, after which it fell off the map, and there has been no warming since. But don't worry. It can't be the sun. You've got the super-sciency Dana Nuccitelli's word on that. My full rebuttal to Nuccitelli (and now Rose) is at my link.

  4. This is frantic handwaving, not a substantive argument. It certainly doesn't show that IPCC "admitted" anything that invalidates their broad (and by now robust) conclusions.

    You have two coarse curves that coarsely follow each other (the sort of thing that is easy to obtain by coincidence) and then they don't (the sort of thing that usually follows from a non-causal correlation). Meanwhile the radiative transfer imbalance has to go somewhere.

    Lindzen's and Spencer's excuses for a low sensitivity are about cloud feedbacks causing cooling relative to a simple system. You then invoke cloud feedbacks to a different forcing to cause cooling by a complex and speculative mechanism. And then you wave around vague hints about the time constants of that system. And finally you misinterpret IPCC.

    I'm not impressed. You are arguing backwards from your preferred conclusion. It's lawyer's science. Maybe this will work with a carefully picked jury but it doesn't hold water. Frankly I wish it did.

    Perhaps you'd care to hazard a prediction for the next ten or twenty years?

  5. If Tobias wants to see whether the IPCC "admitted" that some substantial solar forcing beyond TSI seems to be at work then he should look at the sentence I quoted as making this admission. Frankly, it is a little bit shameful of Mr. Rose not to have included this in his post (AR5 SOD p. 7-43):

    "Many empirical relationships have been reported between GCR or cosmogenic isotope archives and some aspects of the climate system … The forcing from changes in total solar irradiance alone does not seem to account for these observations, implying the existence of an amplifying mechanism such as the hypothesized GCR-cloud link."

    Tobias goes on to express his skepticism about the cloud mechanisms that have been proposed to account for this evidence. Sorry, but skepticism about any proposed theory does not in any way counter the evidence (now admitted by the IPCC) that SOME mechanism of solar amplification must be at work. In fact, using theory (dissatisfaction with available theories) as an excuse for ignoring evidence is a precise inversion of the scientific method, which demands that evidence always trump theory.

    In this Tobias is right in line with the IPCC spokesmen who came out to counter my interpretation. Steve Sherwood and Joanna Haigh BOTH dismissed the admitted evidence on the grounds that in their assessment the particular mechanisms of amplification that have been proposed are not capable of much effect. They dismiss evidence on the basis of theory: pure, definitional, anti-science.

    The contempt that drips from Rose's "award" shows his utter failure to take even the most cursory look at the actual issue. Talk about an "own goal." I think Rose's credibility is going to take a serious hit from this (because, well, I'm going to have to publicize it). Too bad, after his good reporting on the 16 year pause in global warming.

  6. Prolly violates your comment policy, but this is a pretty goofy post on a pretty goofy article, after all, and hence an equally goofy "comment" is called for, right?

    Horatio has kept with the horse theme:

    "Run with the Roses"
    -- Horatio Algeranon's parody of "Run for the Roses" (Dan Fogelberg)

    Born in The Daily
    And raised on the flats
    Of short-term regression
    On wobbly stats
    With Curry beside you
    To help you along
    You'll soon be a-trending temp wrong.

    All the strong cherry picking
    To set up the trend
    El Niño beginning
    La Niña at end
    Can always prepare you
    For what lies you tell
    The run with the Roses is swell --

    And it's run with the Roses
    As fast as you can
    Your flat-line delivered
    Your moment's at hand
    It's the chance of a lifetime
    In a lifetime of chance
    And it's high time you joined
    In deniance
    It's high time you joined
    In deniance

    From liar to liar
    It's born in the blood
    Denier for hire
    And the strength of the FUD
    It's breeding and it's training
    And it's something unknown
    That drives you and Curries
    You home.

    And it's run with the Roses
    As fast as you can
    Your flat-line delivered
    Your moment's at hand
    It's the chance of a lifetime
    In a lifetime of chance
    And it's high time you joined
    In deniance
    It's high time you joined
    In deniance

  7. You misunderstand. Rose won the grand prize. I wrote the article.

    You seem to have a habit of rather cursory reading. I suggest you slow down a bit and exercise some genuine skepticism, which begins with doubting one's own position, not that of one's opponents.

    Also you might want to spell my name right. (There is a Michael Tobias out there in greenie circles, but he and I have never met and I think we may disagree on many things.)

  8. Michael Tobis wrote: "You misunderstand. Rose won the grand prize. I wrote the article."

    Thanks for the clarification.

    He also wrote: "I suggest you slow down a bit and exercise some genuine skepticism."

    Dude, you called "amen" when Dana Nuccitelli declared that the day starts cooling at noon. If you cared about the truth you would help publicize that Dana is quite obviously wrong about this.

  9. I am skeptical that Dana "declared that the day starts cooling at noon". Your point seems to be that the time series are correlated if you can pick whatever lag suits you; but that means that anything can be proven to cause anything.

    What lag was used in the articles you refer to? That's crucial to your argument. As I understand it, it was zero. You can't rescue that by pulling a new lag out when it suits you.

    As I understand it, the radiative time constant of the atmosphere alone is on the order of weeks, and once you pull the upper ocean in it is a matter of decades. These seem to be the main players; you can bring in El Nino or the PDO if you are bound and determined to find something else. But you will have to come up with some way your GCR forcing projects onto the spatial pattern of these modes...

    If, as all appearances indicate, you have not got anything resembling a substantive argument, please feel free to use that information to cook one up. We enjoy this sort of game around here.

  10. You're just physically wrong. If there is a strong but steady solar magnetic field, then there will be a low but steady GCR flux, which means if the GCR hypothesis is right, there will be low but steady cloud seeding. Temperature changes are caused by changes in forcings. Temperatures today don't react to albedo changes from 50 years ago.

  11. I never said the lag and thermal inertia are zero, but it's not 50 years for a small solar forcing either. It's pretty simple - there was a solar activity increase and a temperature increase in the early 20th century, then flat solar activity starting around mid-century, and flat temperatures, then another temperature rise starting around 1975. The solar activity increase didn't cause those two distinct warming periods, so which one do you want to say it caused? Here's a hint - it ain't the second one.

  12. Dana thinks that: "Temperature changes are caused by changes in forcings."

    NO. It is the LEVEL of forcing that determines warming or cooling: is it above or below the level of forcing that would maintain equilibrium? It is not the change in the forcing, or which direction the forcing is changing, that matters.

    Because he doesn't understand this very simple basic physics, Dana keeps saying stuff like: "Temperatures today don't react to albedo changes from 50 years ago."

    It isn't the CHANGE that creates warming Dana. It is the fact that for over 50 years solar activity REMAINED at what many solar scientists (pretty much everyone besides Leif Svalgaard) call "grand maximum" levels. It's not the going up 50 years earlier that drives anything. It's the STAYING UP for 50 years that matters.

    The only way that temperature would follow the CHANGE in the forcing is if ocean equilibrium were somehow to be achieved very rapidly, so that the climate system was always pretty close to being in equilibrium. I haven't seen Dana make this argument, but any such argument is highly speculative, and I can guarantee you it is going to fail. The idea that there are no medium term temperature responses in a climate system with a heat sink the size of our oceans is highly unrealistic.

    If you want to look at the best current estimates of how much medium term warming will result from a modest medium term increase in forcing just look at the commitment studies for CO2. Here's what the draft AR5 says about it (p. 12-60):

    "'Constant emission commitment' is the warming that would result from keeping anthropogenic emissions constant and is estimated for example at about 1–2.5°C by 2100 assuming constant (year 2010) emissions in the future, based on the MAGICC model calibrated to CMIP3 and C4MIP (Meinshausen et al., 2011a; Meinshausen et al., 2011b) (see FAQ 12.3)."

    Even at the low end that's more warming than occurred during the 20th century (and at the high end its more by a factor of o 3 or 4). So much for any rapid ocean equilibrium assumption. If you want to go that way you are going to have to take it up with the GCM guys.

  13. You're comparing a forcing of about 0.1 W/m2 to a forcing of about 4 W/m2. Which is a point I already made below - "I never said the lag and thermal inertia are zero, but it’s not 50 years for a small solar forcing either".

    If you're just going to repeat the same physically ignorant arguments while calling people who have actually taken the time to learn this stuff ignorant, I'm not really interested in arguing with you. It's like arguing with a Creationist - total waste of time.

  14. It is a waste of time and yet it isn't. The thing to do is deconstruct their arguments. And not let them get to you. I agree you should withdraw once they get under your skin. But taking umbrage feeds into their model of arrogance .

    Did you see my AGU talk? Remember to keep your eye on the ball. This is not a real scientific conversation. Alec's complaints are politics masquerading as science whether Alec understands that or not, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the politics as a chess game. Once you enter the fray you need to be careful how you withdraw.

    (I am not sure on what basis you claim that the amplitude of the forcing affects the time constant, though. That doesn't ring true to me.)

  15. It strikes me as an issue of equilibrium. It should take less time for the climate system to respond to a 0.1 W/m2 forcing than a 4 W/m2 forcing (it's not pushed as far out of equilibrium). Though I could be wrong about that, and perhaps the issue is just that the lagged portion of the response to the 0.1 W/m2 forcing is very small.

  16. ===
    Dana thinks that: “Temperature changes are caused by changes in forcings.”

    NO. It is the LEVEL of forcing that determines warming or cooling: is it above or below the level of forcing that would maintain equilibrium? It is not the change in the forcing, or which direction the forcing is changing, that matters.


    No, Dana is correct: it is the level of forcing that determines equilibrium temperature. Changes in forcing drive the system to a new equilibrium. So without changes in forcing there is no warming or cooling, leaving aside background internal variation. (The reason people hate Mann (MBH98) is because his results showed that variation to be small

    This doesn't mean you could not have a point - there are transients in the system; there is an instantaneous response and a roughly 20 year response and then some slower responses from Arctic sea ice (kicking in now) and very slow ones from ice sheets, the deep ocean, and geochemical feedbacks. But you are not making your point very well - your misunderstanding of how dynamical systems work appears very elementary, so much so that it is difficult to figure out how to construct an argument.

    As I always say, there is nothing to be ashamed of in having an elementary understanding of something, but if that's what you have, you should avoid strident criticisms of people who actually have been working through the math. You should be asking Dana questions, not arguing against him. I wish he hadn't let his frustration show like that but I can well understand it.

    Of course, I suppose if you think we are charlatans you don't see any reason to give us tentative respect, but there's sort of a closed-mindedness here that reduces directly to trolling.

    We are left in an argument where we are bending over backwards to find a shred of sense in what you are saying (that is our job, as real skeptics) while you are doing everything you can to seize on some turn of phrase and try to convict us with it, like a courtroom attorney. That is, you are trying to corner us into scientific engagement while refusing to do any yourself. This is how it generally works - that is what makes it you guys and not us who have politicized the science - that is what makes it impossible to make progress. It's trolling, plain and simple.

    Now, to your point, I mean the point you could conceivably have. Let me repeat my challenge: did any of the papers that IPCC cites showing a correlation discuss a lag in the response? If not, you do not get to resort to a lag to defend the subsequent failure of the correlation. If nobody is claiming a lagged correlation then your claim that there is a lag does not constitute a defense of that correlation.

  17. Dana says that I am "comparing a forcing of about 0.1 W/m2 to a forcing of about 4 W/m2." He is referring to the solar forcing from TSI vs the CO2 forcing, but will he please remember the subject of the post for which I am being given the "Chutzpah award": the IPCC's admission in the draft AR5 that there is strong evidence for some substantial mechanism of solar forcing BEYOND TSI.

    And don't tell me I don't know what that sentence means because it was added to the Second Order Draft at MY insistence. My comment on the FOD laid out 2 dozen careful modern research studies that found a correlation of between .4 and .7 between solar activity and temperature going back many thousands of years. That is, solar activity "explains" in the statistical sense something like half of all past temperature change, a level of effect which cannot BEGIN to be explained by the very slight variation in TSI.

    This evidence had been almost completely excluded from the FOD and the implication that some mechanism of solar amplification must be at work was never acknowledged. Instead, they dismissed/ignored the subject (including the evidence) on the grounds that they didn't like the theories that had been put forward to account for the evidence (in particular GCR-cloud).

    They used theory to dismiss evidence, exactly inverting the scientific method. Pure, definitional, anti-science. That is the charge they were trying to avoid with the added sentence. They didn't actually lay out the evidence that some substantial mechanism of solar amplification must be in play but they did acknowledge that it exists so they were no longer denying it. They weren't using theory to deny evidence anymore. They still don't take the evidence into account anywhere else in the report but the added sentence is a first glimmer of truth from the IPCC.

    Tobis says: "This is not a real scientific conversation. Alec’s complaints are politics masquerading as science." Michael, you are the one who has nothing to say about the science. You quoted DANA NUCCITELLI claiming that cooling should start when forcing is at its peak! To Dana, I don't mean to be insulting, but come on, you made an absurd mistake, and this guy took you as an AUTHORITY. Nobody should take anybody as an authority. I never ask to be taken as an authority, and neither does any competent scientist. Address reason and evidence. But if you're out of your depth and you have to take somebody as an authority... well, it shouldn't be Dana.

  18. In a linear system the latter (the lagged response to a small forcing is small) is definitely (and trivially) the case. Consequently, it is also approximately the case in a weakly nonlinear system, which for present purposes the climate system reasonably is usually considered - if it weren't, the whole question of quantifying a sensitivity feedback term wouldn't make any sense.

  19. All this highfalutin' hypothesizing doesn't amount to a hill of beans in the "real" America. Jonathan Haidt makes some excellent points in the sexy TED style, but he's preaching to the converted.

    Recently one of our home health aides, who gets global warming but won't change her ways (and no more do I, when all is said and done) suggested I just relax and enjoy the unusual warmth this week. Justin Bieber gets more attention.

    Hats off to Algeranon, love his ditties.

    Meanwhile, the clock is ticking ...

  20. "the IPCC’s admission in the draft AR5 that there is strong evidence for some substantial mechanism of solar forcing BEYOND TSI."

    This is my key point. They admitted no such thing. They admitted that a few papers showing a correlation had passed peer review, and were winding up to address the allegation that it constituted evidence for such a mechanism.

    The fact remains that the world as understood by physical science consists of matter and energy, and in the end a temperature forcing has to come via energy. So you need to get to wattage eventually, and you have to find a way to convert that wattage to a much larger (not a much smaller) number than the GHG forcing.

    "And don’t tell me I don’t know what that sentence means because it was added to the Second Order Draft at MY insistence. "

    Ah, well that explains why it goes a bit too far.

    My comment on the FOD laid out 2 dozen careful modern research studies that found a correlation of between .4 and .7 between solar activity and temperature going back many thousands of years. That is, solar activity “explains” in the statistical sense something like half of all past temperature change, a level of effect which cannot BEGIN to be explained by the very slight variation in TSI.

    Is this visible somewhere, or do I need to take your word for it?

    I never ask to be taken as an authority, and neither does any competent scientist.

    I think the argument from authority fallacy is real, but it's misinterpreted. Argument from authority does not settle a question, but disrespect for expertise nevertheless uniformly gets the wrong answer. Dana is doing a good job and learning fast - I did similar work on usenet in the 1990s. As far as I can tell you are willfully misinterpreting IPCC and advancing your own cause in a political campaign.

    To force a sentence into the report and then call it an admission - that is politics not science.

    But as always, I am willing to discuss science. Let's see your two dozen studies, then, and show us where they explain the divergence between the two series, and explain to us how they trump the GHG forcing.

    Also, what do you mean by this .4 to .7 correlation? Chapter and verse please?

  21. Note that the factors amplifying the TSI forcing will also have to amplify it by an order of magnitude to bring it on par with the GHG forcing. There's scant evidence that GCRs have a non-negligible impact on global temperatures at all, let alone amplifying the TSI forcing by an order of magnitude.

  22. Michael repeats his challenge: "did any of the papers that IPCC cites showing a correlation discuss a lag in the response? If not, you do not get to resort to a lag to defend the subsequent failure of the correlation. If nobody is claiming a lagged correlation then your claim that there is a lag does not constitute a defense of that correlation."

    I referred you to the commitment studies. They show the physics involved. A persistent elevated level of forcing WILL cause continued warming. Correlation studies do not model physics. That is the great limitation of correlation studies, which everybody understands. They can tell you that there is some relationship, but they can't tell you the structure of it because they don't model structure. But we also have physics, which can tell us something about what the structure should be, and the most fully fleshed out physics (the GCMs) says that continuation of the forcing that caused 20th century warming (they assume it was CO2), if it doesn't go up any further, will cause as much warming again (or more) in the 21st century.

    On the correlation evidence, the second section of my FOD comment lists the two dozen studies that I mentioned:

    The influence of a forcing on temperature is going to depend on

  23. "Dana Nuccitelli declared that the day starts cooling at noon"

    Horatio would have to see the actual claim in writing (link?), but it's at least possible that noon is actually when Dana switches his AC on, in which case his day would indeed start cooling at noon.

    On an equally serious note, Horatio has another ditty for the ALL the winners (which also keeps with the horse theme) -- and also for any deserving individuals who were inadvertently left out of the "Run with the Roses" (eg, Willie Soon and Nils-Axel Morner and their horse-diving theory of sea level rise)

    "My Favorite Things"

    – Horatio Algeranon's parody of the Rodgers and Hammerstein song (from "The Sound of Music)

    Curry and Roses and high diving horses
    Mything with Moncktons, divining with dowsers
    Skeptics with foolishness hung with their strings
    These are a few of my favorite things

    “Blog Science” phonies and short trend balonies
    Ding dongs and ding bats and blogging at Tony's
    Theories that fly with the moon on their wings
    These are a few of my favorite things

    Graphs from fake skeptics with BS statistics
    Fact-fakes that stray like erratic ballistics
    Sea-ice "recoveries" that melt into springs
    These are a few of my favorite things

    When the blog bites
    When “tee hee” stings
    When I’m feeling sad
    I simply remember my favorite things
    And then I don’t feel so bad

  24. "A persistent elevated level of forcing WILL cause continued warming."

    Um, what part of "equilibration" do you not understand?

    "I referred you to the commitment studies. They show the physics involved."

    I doubt it. Please be specific.

    " Correlation studies do not model physics. That is the great limitation of correlation studies, which everybody understands. They can tell you that there is some relationship,"

    Have you ever heard the dictum "correlation does not imply causation"? Do you understand what it means?

    So I looked at

    Your first reference says nothing about paleoclimate.

    The second says the arctic subsystem is sensitive to TSI, whereas your claim as I understand it is that TSI has nothing to do with solar impact:

    "The Chapter 7 authors are admitting strong evidence (“many empirical relationships”) for enhanced solar forcing (forcing beyond total solar irradiance, or TSI), even if they don’t know what the mechanism is. This directly undercuts the main premise of the report, as stated in Chapter 8 (page 8-4, lines 54-57):"

    At zero for two, I have lost interest in reading the rest of your 24 references. As far as I can tell it's all bluster. Please explain which one or ones support your position of "overwhelming evidence" of forcing "beyond TSI", and how. Else answer someplace else.

    You seem to have a tendency to jump to conclusions.

  25. Rawls states: "Solar activity was a “grand maximum” levels until 2000, after which it fell off the map, and there has been no warming since."

    Huh: What do you have to say to Dr. Leif Svalgaard, a fellow WUWTer and, unlike you, a bona fide scientist, who entirely disagrees with your assertion?

  26. Alec Rawls claims the sentence was included at his insistence. The fact remains that, as a reviewer, his insistence is irrelevant. The change in the draft can only have been made by a contributing author (at minimum) and must have been agreed to by the other contributing and lead authors of that section. Therefore it is their understanding, not his, which determines the intended meaning.

    As it stands, we do not even have evidence that the sentence Rawl's insisted be included even matches the sentence actually included in wording.

  27. Tobis writes: "Um, what part of 'equilibration' do you not understand?"

    Thank you Michael, for confirming exactly what I said: that you and Dana are making extreme and highly speculative assumptions about ocean equilibration. Given the size of ocean heat sinks your rapid equilibration assumptions are prima facie unlikely, and they are contradicted by the commitment studies, which show very substantial medium term warming in response to persistent forcing.

    Somebody asked what I think about Leif Svalsgaard? A most amusing and highly idiosyncratic fellow. Leif holds a "flat sun theory," and is about the only solar scientest on the planet who does. But he's a very lovely fellow, with time for everybody, so long as you are happy to fight!

  28. Um, you are moving the goalposts with amazing speed but you are overreaching. The present company can see what you are doing.

    1) I have said several times in this discussion that upper ocean equilibration time constants are of the order of decades.

    2) The reference to equilibration is in response to your physically suggestion that steady forcing causes indefinite warming. Do you withdraw this? DId I misunderstand it?

    3) You continue to duck the key question. How is your vaguely proposed smoothing of the forcing consistent with any of the papers you celebrate?

    4) And which forcing is it other than what you call "TSI", and which of your references supports that?

    So now there are four open questions. Let me add a fifth.

    5) Is there any reason whatsoever to consider what you are doing anything other than trolling?

    Note that by trolling I mean mischievous or malicious speech intended to disrupt serious conversation, rather than to advance it.

  29. That statement isn't true either, by the way. TSI is still in the same vicinity as it was in the 1980s, with a net change of a small fraction of a W/m2.

    Whereas the early 20th century TSI change was probably in the range of 0.5 to 4 W/m2 (more likely on the lower end of that range), unless Leif is right.

    And anyway, what happened to the 50 year lag?

  30. Michael says: "I have said several times in this discussion that upper ocean equilibration time constants are of the order of decades."

    That is the short term temperature response, but there is more to the oceans than the top 100 or 200 meters. As the top layer warms, it transfers heat to the next layer (not well defined, but some of the warmer top water mixes down, carried by ocean currents, ocean oscillations, large scale convection events, and whatever other mixing processes might be going on that we don't even know about).

    The slow warming of the intermediate layer decreases the temperature differential with the warmed up top layer, decreasing heat loss from the top layer and causing the top layer to warm further, and this warming occurs on intermediate time scales: multi-decades to multi-centuries.

    Thus there is an intermediate time scale to the climate system, not just the rapid response represented by the top ocean layer. Heat might also come back out with the overturning of the large scale ocean currents, and through who knows what other processes, but it is this kind of stuff that is modeled by the GCMs, and gives rise to the medium term temperature response seen in the commitment studies.

    Now I don't know why you're calling me a troll. I have spent time here explaining these things that you seem to not have any idea about, but all you do is get pissed off and insult me. In fact that's how you started out, insulting my comments on the draft IPCC report apparently without having any idea what I said except what you could glean from serial errors of Dana Nuccitelli. Sheesh. You're the one who is trolling your own comment section.

    [ I was going to borehole this but on second thought everybody should be able to see what passes for engagement in your world. The last word is yours, and I'm sorry to have to tell you that this is it. -mt]

  31. Horatio originally parodied "The Rose" for David Rose (who just has one of those song-worthy names. Lucky him).

    But, in light of the persistence shown by the runner-up above -- and so he doesn't feel left out (having lost the grand prize and all) -- Horatio tweaked it just a tiny bit. Feel free to substitute the name into the other two ditties as well. Whatever works.

    "The Rawls"
    – Horatio Algeranon's parody of Bette Midler's "The Rose"

    Some say warming is a sea-wave
    That drowns the coastal town
    Some say warming is a heat-wave
    That wilts the cornfields down
    Some say warming’s what CO2 gave,
    A blanket all around.
    I say warming's an "IPCC rave”
    The science is not sound.

    It’s the skeptic afraid of faking
    Who never learns the dance.
    It’s the nerd afraid of hacking
    Who never takes the chance.
    It’s the one who is forsaking,
    Who doesn’t even try,
    And the soul afraid of lying
    Who never will deny.

    When the fight has been too lonely
    And the warming’s been too long,
    And you think denial is only
    For the plucky and the strong,
    Just remember at the Wattsup
    Where the scientist never goes
    Lies the screed that with the Watts love
    From a thorn becomes the Rawls

    That's it.
    There's plenty more, but no more here, not now (maybe next awards' ceremony)

  32. Rawls' link to his blog cites several papers to demonstrate solar influence, but reading the papers doesn't actually give that impression. Many do indeed show a correlation with past climate and propose mechanisms to explain that correlation - however, the correlations don't match up to the range that Rawls stated (Rawls mixed up correlation coefficients - R values - with coefficients of determination - R^2), and several of the papers actually propose circulation feedbacks as possible mechanisms by which small solar changes could have larger impacts. Of course, there's nothing clear to me to say those feedbacks still don't exist; if Rawls wants to argue for a high climate sensitivity, though, he's shooting himself in the foot and contradicting himself in his own article.

    For a brief summary of the papers and Rawls' mistakes:

    - Bond 2001: lower CD than Rawls cites (R^2 = 0.194-0.36), suggests circulation (not cloud feedbacks related to GCR) feedbacks amplify solar impact.

    - Neff 2001: no correlation figures given; suggests "[i]t is more likely that solar variability leads to changes in atmospheric or oceanic circulation that amplify this initial input."

    - Shaviv 2003: discredited by Overholt 2009.

    - Usoskin 2005: explicitly state that current climate change is due to something besides solar variability.

    - Usoskin 2007: does not override Usoskin 2005; defines maxima/minima based on sunspot figures; present maximum SSN-wise does not change TSI data, which shows decreasing since the latter half of the twentieth century.

    - Caillon 2003: Rawls is misinterpretting the implications of the results; Shakun et al 2012 show global temperature lag.

    - Solheim 2011: doesn't appear to have been accepted(?); argues for solar cycle length, a "pattern" which has diverged in the past 3/4 cycles as shown by Hans Peter Jacobson at Skeptical Science.

    - Ogurtsov 2010: very local, haven't read paper to determine CD, if it gives one; excerpt does not describe mechanism.

    - Di Rita 2011: very local; haven't read paper to see mechanism; not really a temperature response, but extent of saltmarshes, which could be due to precipitation or biological responses (maybe saltmarshes just die).

    - Raspopov 2011: mentions the de Vries cycle, which from other papers he linked to appears to exist in C14 data, but this is indicative of GCR flux, not of a mechanism that actually ties GCR flux to climate (see e.g. Neff 2001); OTOH I haven't read this paper yet to see if that's the data they found the cycle in.

    - Tan 2009: much lower CD values than Rawls cites (R^2 = 0.123-0.16); mechanism in line with Rawls', but no evidence given per se: have not read cited papers, but data in the paper itself does not support purported mechanism.

    • Rawls relies on changing lags in solar effect, from (say) ~50 years as it seems in these Planet3 article comments, to 25 years necessary for Tan 2009's results, so on.

    • Rawls cites only two or three papers that give CC values, so the "50-80%" range he gave is based off of (1) small sample of papers, (2) incorrect interpretation of R statistics as R^2 statistics.

    • Rawls' papers often say mechanism is due to circulation feedbacks, not due to GCR flux. None demonstrate GCR flux either, even Solheim et al which seems to have been discredited by more accurate galactic geometry (not to mention contradicting results with, say, Royer's papers).

  33. A slight edit that was pointed out to me separate from here - I misspelled *Hans Petter Jacobsen*'s name, the author from Skeptical Science, so apologies for that. In case anyone is interested too, here's his post:

  34. David Rose in The Mail:

    'A day before the revised Met Office forecast broke, US blog site Planet 3.0 awarded me its Golden Horseshoe award for the "most brazenly damaging and malign bad science of 2013".

    'I’ll be clutching it when they burn me at the stake.'

    Stirring stuff.

  35. Rose seems to be making an early bid for the 2013 prize too (though, up to his usual reporting standards it seems, he appears to think he has it already).

    And is it just me or have they really gone for the surely-this-could-only-be-a-joke tipping-the-temperature-graph-to-make-it-look-flat?

  36. Pingback: 2013 SkS Weekly Digest #2

  37. Horatio knows he said "that's it" above, but simply can't resist utter goofiness when he sees it.

    "Lucky Horseshoe"
    -- by Horatio Algeranon

    I'll clutch my Golden Horseshoe
    When they burn me at the stake
    If horseshoe luck is with me too
    "Dead ringer" * I will make.

    * "carbon copy"

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