Nicola Scafetta: Comments on “Solar Trends And Global Warming” by Benestad and Schmidt

Posted: January 28, 2013 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

Worth another airing I think. Use this link to the Lean and Rind paper as is a link farm these days.

Climate Science: Roger Pielke Sr.

On July 22 2009 I posted on the new paper on solar forcing by Lean and Rind 2009 (see). In that post, I also referred to the Benestad and Schmidt 2009 paper on solar forcing which has a conclusion at variance to that in the Lean and Rind paper.

After the publication of my post, Nicole Scafetta asked if he could present a comment (as a guest weblog) on the Benestad and Schmidt paper on my website, since it will take several months for his comment  to make it through the review process. In the interests of presenting the perspectives on the issue of solar climate forcing, Nicola’s post appears below. I also invite Benestad and Schmidt to write responses to the Scaftta contribution which I would be glad to post on my website.


Benestad and Schmidt have recently published a paper in JGR. (Benestad, R. E., and G. A. Schmidt…

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  1. Ray Tomes says:

    This is the same as using Fourier analysis where only periods which are exact fractions of the whole time period can occur. It is important to search between the integral cycles for the best fit.

  2. Paul Vaughan says:

    No, it doesn’t work like that Ray. Standard wavelets are compact. Near the ends the wavelet hangs off the series, so you have to do something …and they did something silly. We discussed this at WUWT a very long time ago. I’m not sure why this is up for discussion again, but it was good for a quick laugh back then.

  3. tallbloke says:

    It’s up for discussion again because instead of the egregious error bringing about the withdrawal of the paper, it still besmirches the literature and is being cited in new papers by authors notably including Benestad himself, twice, Peter Stott, Cornelis de Jager, and many others.

    Faulty science needs to be highlighted for what it is.

  4. Roger, thank you for remind my criticism to Benestad and Schmidt ridiculous paper, which is seriously flawed and filled with silly math errors.

    As you say, Benestad and Schmidt paper had to be withdrawal, but it was too useful for the AGW propaganda.

    Note that my following paper:

    Scafetta N., 2009. Empirical analysis of the solar contribution to global mean air surface temperature change. Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics 71, 1916-1923.

    and the other papers

    contradicts the major message of Benestad and Schmidt paper that the sun had a littleeffect on climate.

    My paper:

    Scafetta N., 2010. Empirical evidence for a celestial origin of the climate oscillations and its implications. Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics 72, 951-970.

    also demonstrates that the GISS modelE used by Benestad and Schmidt greatly overestimates the volcano signature and severely underestimate the solar signature and does not reproduce any of the observed climatic oscillations which are necessary to properly interpret climate change.

    My paper:
    Scafetta N., 2012. Testing an astronomically based decadal-scale empirical harmonic climate model versus the IPCC (2007) general circulation climate models. Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics 80, 124-137.

    extends the result demonstrating that all IPCC GCMs do not reproduce the climatic oscillations.

    Among the papers that reference Benestad and Schmidt, note that

    Jiansong Zhou, Ka-Kit Tung, Deducing Multidecadal Anthropogenic Global Warming Trends Using Multiple Regression Analysis, Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 2013, 70, 1, 3

    criticized its result.

    About the AWG advocates who referenced it, (in particular Lockwood) I think that this is the clear evidence that AGW advocates do not read carefully the papers that they reference, nor they read with a critical mind nor they truly understand math. They are clearly more interested in political advocacy than in science, which is how AGW propagated. And this is also the politics of the IPCC.

  5. Paul Vaughan says:

    Wrapping this series wasn’t so much a bad choice as it was a funny one — the kind you can’t restrain yourself from bursting out laughing at. That’s really about all that needs to be said.

    As for the intransigence: That’s a social, psychological, &/or political issue that probably can’t be corrected or even affected by logic. The remedy — if such a thing exists — isn’t as simple as stating the truth …So we have an ethical quandary.

  6. tallbloke says:

    Well said Nicola.

    I confronted Schmidt about this paper on Twitter yesterday, along with Leo Hickman of the Guardian, and they simply blanked the criticism because I used the word ‘stupid’. 🙂

  7. Steven Mosher says:

    ” However, the arguments are quite clear in that paper and in the additional figures that we published as supporting material. Moreover, it is not clear to me how Benestad and Schmidt could conclude that our work is wrong if Benestad and Schmidt acknowledge that they have not understood it. Perhaps, they just needed to study it better.


    perhaps you need to publish your code. It is rarely the case that words can convey as much information as the code. Second, it is well known from empirical studies on replication that researchers themselves cannot replicate their own work when ask to.

    Pick 1
    1. Your description of your methods was inadequate

    2. gavin and rasmus could not follow instructions.

    3. You dropped the ball between producing your results and turning them into charts.

    The test of #1 as a hypothesis is to have people try to reproduce your results exactly. gavin has failed, Mcintyre has failed. There is evidence ( not proof) that what we know generally is true specificly in this situation. That is, we know generally and from empirical replication studies that words describing methods are often ambiguous. That is why we write code. Words are subject
    to interpretation, code works or does not work. There is evidence of 1 being true.

    #2. You have evidence of #2 also being true. It is possible for both 1 and 2 to be true. However,
    you have no example of anyone able to follow your description and reproduce your work.

    When Mcintyre had problems reproducing Mann’s work, he asked for Code. mann refused. Jones was also asked and refused. Science moves forward by standing on the shoulders of others. Hiding work didnt work for them.

    #3. Number 3 cannot only be address in one way. Sharing code

  8. tallbloke says:

    Mosh: Benestad and Schmidt made an error by their application of a periodic filter which forces the end value down to be the same as the starting value. That’s a much more egregious error which should have brought about the withdrawal of the paper. Instead, having been made aware of the error, they go on to cite the paper in further work. There’s a word for that.

    Can you bring yourself to admit that it’s not Nicola Scafetta’s fault that Benestad and Schmidt can’t apply statistical tools properly? Or will you decide to be complicit with their gross error and subsequent citation of work they know full well is fatally flawed?

  9. To Steven Mosher, do you want to understand that the code to calculate the wavelet decomposition is publicly available and already implemented in statistical packages such as “R” used by Benestad and Schmidt for their calculations?

    Here you find the instructions about the MODWT function in “R”:

    Benestad and Schmidt’s major error was to use boundary=”periodic” instead of using boundary = “reflection” in the modwt function which introduced large errors and severely erroneous border trending.

    Is it so complicated to understand it for you? it is years that you are repeating the same thing as a broken disk.

    Moreover as a minor error they have mistaken the time resolution of the record. They used a monthly resolution while they should have followed the detailed instructions of my paper and changed the resolution.

    And there are an infinity of other math errors in that paper, and they know it.

  10. Paul Vaughan says:

    I find it funny that people have had trouble replicating Nicola’s work. Mosher always reminds me of students that mooch off brighter students to get answers — and of students who always go begging the teacher for more hints. This just highlights a lack of independent ability.

    And to put the spot-light back where it belongs: A few years ago when I first read at WUWT that B&S actually wrapped the series, I involuntarily, abruptly spit-laughed on the screen. It wouldn’t be funny if they weren’t trying to tell us what to think — that sort of “authority” doesn’t go over so well.

  11. […] Scafetta. This paper contained a fatal stats error which entirely invalidated it’s content. I posted about this a while […]