Archive for February, 2011

Tim Channon: HADsst2 data from 1850 – the movie

Posted: February 13, 2011 by tallbloke in climate

Tim Channon has kindly sent me an open office presentation with nicely produced maps of global SST from the HADsst2 dataset. This neatly demonstrates the sparsity of the data prior to the middle of the C20th. Tim will have more to say in comments I hope.

I haven’t paid wordpress to host videos so I’ll embed it in the first comment for everyone to access. Be sure to pause the playback on the first frame to have time to read it.

Credits: Map production – Tim Channon
Video conversion – Rob Prince
Artistic direction and upload description – tallbloke 🙂

T.C. Chamberlin: Multiple Working Hypotheses

Posted: February 13, 2011 by tallbloke in Philosophy

I’m reproducing this short reprise of T.C. Chamberlin’s original 1890 paper because it nicely summarizes the argument I put forward at Lisbon for several parallel lines of investigation into the causes of climate change.
H/t to Bishop Hill commenter Justice4Rinka for finding this link.

T. C. Chamberlin’s “Method of Multiple Working Hypotheses”:
An encapsulation for modern students
L. Bruce Railsback

Department of Geology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602-2501 USA


Scientific study designed to increase our knowledge of natural phenomena can follow at least three different intellectual methods. These can be called the method of the ruling theory, the method of the working hypothesis, and the method of multiple working hypotheses. The first two are the most popular but they can, and often do, lead to ineffective research that overlooks relevant data. Instead, the method of multiple working hypotheses offers a more effective way of organizing one’s research.

It is very encouraging when people follow up on my ideas and work with the data themselves to help develop new hypotheses to explain the causes of climate change. Roger Andrews has taken my idea of integrating sunspot number as cumulative series departing from the phenomenologically derived ocean equilibrium value and compared it to his TSI analysis to try to improve the correlation between solar activity and global temperature by adding in co2 data. He informs me via email that from this he derives a rough estimate of climate  sensitivity to co2 which is in close agreement to the non-feedback value calculated from first principles, i.e. around 1.1C. This is a valuable contribution to the debate and I recommend downloading the pdf’s linked at the foot of the article so you can take a closer look offline.


Some time ago now, I did some analysis on the asymmetry of sunspot production. Sometimes more spots are being produced in the northern solar hemisphere, sometimes more in the south. Leif Svalgaard, when he told me where to find the data, (Thanks Leif!) said I was wasting my time because no-one had ever made any sense of sunspot production asymmetry.

Making some headway, I produced the poster below the break. My coding expert friend Rob and I are revisiting this work just now, so hopefuly we’ll have something more to show soon.

Dr Roy Spencer: Climate Sensitivity Uncertainty

Posted: February 11, 2011 by tallbloke in climate, Energy

Dr Roy Spencer put a very important post up at the end of January while I was busy at Lisbon. I recomend you read it all at his site. Here is a taster:

Further Evidence of Low Climate Sensitivity from NASA’s Aqua Satellite


In fact, NO ONE HAS YET FOUND A WAY WITH OBSERVATIONAL DATA TO TEST CLIMATE MODEL SENSITIVITY. This means we have no idea which of the climate models projections are more likely to come true.

This dirty little secret of the climate modeling community is seldom mentioned outside the community. Don’t tell anyone I told you.

This is why climate researchers talk about probable ranges of climate sensitivity. Whatever that means!…there is no statistical probability involved with one-of-a-kind events like global warming!

There is HUGE uncertainty on this issue.


POTUS on Scientific Integrity

Posted: February 10, 2011 by tallbloke in Philosophy

2009 MAR 20 PM J: 27
March 9, 2009
SUBJECT: Scientific Integrity
Science and the scientific process must inform and guide decisions of my Administration on a wide range of issues, including improvement of public health, protection of the environment, increased efficiency in the use of energy and other resources, mitigation of the threat of climate change, and protection of national security.

The public must be able to trust the science and scientific process informing public policy decisions. Political officials should not suppress or alter scientific or technological findings and conclusions. If scientific and technological information is developed and used by the Federal Government, it should ordinarily be made available to the public. To the extent permitted by law, there should be transparency in the preparation, identification, and use of scientific and technological information in policymaking. The selection of scientists and technology professionals for positions in the executive branch should be based on their scientific and technological knowledge, credentials, experience, and integrity.

By this memorandum, I assign to the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (Director) the responsibility for ensuring the highest level of integrity in all aspects of the executive branch’s involvement with scientific and technological processes. The Director shall confer, as appropriate, with the heads of executive departments and agencies, including the Office of Management and Budget and offices and agencies within the Executive Office of the President (collectively, the “agencies”), and recommend a plan to achieve that goal throughout the executive branch.


Fred Pearce: Climategate and Credibility

Posted: February 10, 2011 by tallbloke in climate, Philosophy

Fred Pearce has been attending a ‘ Carbonundrums: From Science to Headlines’ conference in Norway on media and the presentation of climate science to the public. He has some interesting things to say about the climategate scientists. In relation to the email captured in this image, Fred’s presentation included the word “criminal”. Stitch that Neven.


From the suggestions box. Contributor Zeke alerts us to an interesting sounding presentation on the net:

I would like to invite any and all interested to attend a web presentation on World Science Database, this Saturday:

Albert Einstein (centre) discovered the bending of light round the sun

Dr. Edward Henry Dowdye Jr.Physicist, Laser Optics Engineer, Independent ResearcherDate: Saturday, February 12, 2011Time: 07:00 AM – 09:00 AM (U.S. Pacific time)
Subject:”An application of the Mathematical Physics of Gauss’s Law for gravity along with intense observational evidence, reveal that solar lensing does not occur in the empty vacuum space slightly above the plasma rim of the sun. The thin plasma atmosphere of the sun represents a clear example of an indirect interaction involving an interfering plasma medium between the gravitational field of the sun and the rays of light from the stars. There is convincing observational evidence that a direct interaction between light and gravitation in the empty vacuum space above the solar rim simply does not occur. Historically, all evidence of light bending has been observed predominantly near the thin plasma rim of the sun; not in the empty vacuum space far above the thin plasma rim.


Jerome Ravetz: PNS, Truth and Science

Posted: February 8, 2011 by tallbloke in climate, Philosophy

I ‘d like to thank Jerome Ravetz for providing me with a new essay on his philosophy of ‘Post Normal Science’. Jerry is a veteran of the history and philosophy of science, and brings his wisdom to an arena riven with conflicting views and controversial evidential interpretations. In an effort to reduce the heat in the climate debate in order that progress in understanding each other’s views can be made, he recently organised a conference workshop in Lisbon which I was invited to attend. The theme of the workshop was: Reconciliation in the Climate Change Debate – TB

Jerome Ravetz: PNS, Truth and Science

I’d like to pick up on P.G. Sharrow’s comment: “Real science is about truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

Statement of intent

Posted: February 8, 2011 by tallbloke in Astrophysics, climate, Energy, solar system dynamics

Over on Deltoid, things have been pretty unpleasant and noisy, so I’m answering Jeremy the snob here. 🙂

@290 Jeremy (who thinks you have to be C.ENG to merit being called an engineer and I.ENG isn’t good enough).

“How the heck do you get a link from that to measuring solar levels at the earth environment boundary and then observing the effect of solar actvity levels on the earth’s environment???”

Well Jeremy, there are several distinct engineering problems to be addressed here which I deal with at length in various posts around my blog. If you pick your way between the stuff people ridicule here because they can’t understand it or don’t appreciate sceptical humour, you’ll discover something about my investigations of this fascinating area of study.

Quick praisee(tm)
NASA scientists Wolff and Patrone posit a viable mechanism for the link between the motion of the Sun relative to the centre of mass of the solar system and the release of extra energy from overturnng convection cells inside the Sun which will modulate solar activity levels.


Lisbon workshop exposed: By Deepclimate

Posted: February 7, 2011 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

Egyptian figure: Gulbenkian Foundation Lisbon

Enigmatic mystery climate blogger ‘Deepclimate’ has written a long, and rather lopsided slant on the Lisbon Conference here in which I appear to be a far greater influence on the organisation than I was :

It should be interesting to see how this shakes down, as Deep has been on the warpath over the last few days demanding my head for my characterisation of Gavin Schmidt’s response to the invitation to attend. Funnily enough he wasn’t making too much of it when I posted it last month though.

There has been a flurry in the blogosphere regarding the summary of Gavin Schmidt’s response to the invitation he was sent to attend the Lisbon Workshop on Reconciliation in the Climate Debate published by Fred Pearce on his New Scientist blog here. Gavin posted on Fred’s blog and said that:

Fred Pearce includes a statement about me that is patently untrue.
“But the leaders of mainstream climate science turned down the gig, including NASA’s Gavin Schmidt, who said the science was settled so there was nothing to discuss.”

This is completely made up.”

The original summary (similar to that which Fred posted) was made by me at the Lisbon event in response to a question concerning the absence of prominent AGW proponents. Judy Curry posted on the issue here, and wondered if I was able to clarify. I expressed reservations about posting Gavin’s response and said:


Just posted on Roy Spencer’s blog:

I wouldn’t write off solar variability as a cause yet Roy. Judy Curry and Peter Webster both say you were right to model the ocean down to 1000m despite what Pierrehumbert said. This means extra solar energy gets stored in the ocean on a multi-decadal timescale, because the energy stratifies in layers and can’t escape upwards while the sun is more than averagely active. The sunspot number has on average risen since the little ice age.


Jerome Ravetz: Quality in science for policy

Posted: February 1, 2011 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

This is a quick summary Jerry Ravetz wrote at my request last year of a much longer book on the subject he co-wrote with Silvio Funtowitz in 1990 called Uncertainty and Quality in Science for Policy


To start, ‘quality’ now means ‘goodness’.  But it is not a simple property.  In fact, it is complex, recursive and moral.  First, for any thing or action, there are a plurality of attributes of quality, each of which will have its own criteria and standards.  These do not come from nowhere; for each there will be a social system that defines and then monitors them.  This immediately raises the question in the Latin motto, ‘who guards the guardians?’