This week’s report on the news in climate science

In science, as in geopolitics, the action often occurs on the frontiers.

1. Operating Environment 2008“, US Joint Forces Command, 25 November 2008, 56 pages — “A strategic framework that forecasts possible threats and opportunities that will challenge the future joint force.”  Note Part II, chapter G “Climate Change and Natural Disasters.”

2.  Emulating Mannian CPS“, Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit, 2 December 2008 — The struggle continues to get “hockey stick” Mann’s computer to code to work.  Only then can Mann’s work be replicated.  Odd that it appears in peer-reviewed journals; one wonders what “reviewed” means when the code does not run.

3.  Sun’s Magnetic Field May Impact Weather And Climate: Sun Cycle Can Predict Rainfall Fluctuations“, ScienceDaily, 3 December 2008 — An example of the large flow of peer-reviewed literature on alternative drivers of modern climate changes.  The subject of the article is “Exploratory Analysis of Similarities in Solar Cycle Magnetic Phases with Southern Oscillation Index Fluctuations in Eastern Australia“, ROBERT G.V. BAKER, Geographical Research, December 2008, Pages 380 – 398.

4.  Mann et al 2008 – Another Error Notice“, Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit, 5 December 2008 — Another correction by Mann, who seems unable to credit his critics.

5.  Satellite derived sea level updated“, Anthony Watts, Watts Up With That, 5 December 2008 — “The short-term trend has been shrinking since 2005.”

I recommend reading the slides or watching the video of this event:  “Climate Change, Security, and Earth Observation“, Center for Strategic and International Studies, 5 December 2008 — Description:

This event builds off of the recommendation of the CSIS Commission on Smart Power for America to take a leadership role in addressing climate change and energy security by helping to establish global consensus and developing innovative solutions. This event will feature keynote speakers:

  • Dr. Ronald Sugar, CEO of Northrop Grumman Corporation; and
  • Vice Admiral Conrad Lautenbacher, former Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere (NOAA).

Speakers and panelists will discuss three principal issues:

  1. The serious and pervasive effects of climate change on national security;
  2. Building the infrastructure and capability to collect and analyze data on Earth systems for the adaptation and mitigation of the effects of climate change; and
  3. The need for U.S. leadership in spearheading multilateral collaboration on these initiatives

Excerpts

1.  Operating Environment 2008“, US Joint Forces Command, 25 November 2008, 56 pages — “A strategic framework that forecasts possible threats and opportunities that will challenge the future joint force.”  Note Part II, chapter G “Climate Change and Natural Disasters.” 

The impact of global warming and its potential to cause natural disasters and other harmful phenomena such as rising sea levels has become a prominent—and controversial—national and international concern. Some argue that there will be more and greater storms and natural disasters, others that there will be fewer. In many respects, scientific conclusions about the causes and potential effects of global warming are contradictory.

Whatever their provenance, tsunamis, typhoons, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and other natural catastrophes have been and will continue to be a concern of joint force commanders. In particular, where natural disasters collide with growing urban sprawl, widespread human misery could be the final straw that breaks the back of a weak state.

In the 2030s as in the past, the ability of U.S. military forces to relieve the victims of natural disasters could help the United States’ image around the world. For example, the contribution of U.S. and partner forces to relieving the distress caused by the catastrophic Pacific tsunami of December 2006 reversed the perceptions of America held by many Indonesians. Perhaps no other mission performed by the Joint Force provides so much benefit to the interests of the United States at so little cost.

2.  Emulating Mannian CPS“, Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit, 2 December 2008 — The struggle continues to get “hockey stick” Mann’s computer to code to work.  Only then can Mann’s work be replicated.  Odd that it appears in peer-reviewed journals; one wonders what “reviewed” means when the code does not run.  Excerpt:

I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time working up a practical emulation of Mannian CPS and have uploaded a function to do this. While Mann has made a decent effort to archive code and intermediates, as others have noted, the code itself is chaotic and hard to figure out.

Added to this are the “stupid pet tricks” – the allocation of proxies to more than one gridcell if they are on a fence-post, the unexpected (and unmentioned in the running text) 1 degree displacement of all gridcells to the south and the repetitive smoothing of truncated proxies at each step. Plus the archived reconstructions are spliced versions, so it becomes that much harder to reconcile.

… The “pet tricks” have a not inconsiderable effect on the relationship between the 1930s and 1980s.

To analyze substantive issues like the impact of using Tiljander proxies upside-down, one has to wade through this stuff. It’s taken a while to get the emulation to stand still, but I should be able to now do these sensitivities in fairly short order. (The EIV recons remain a bit of a black box, unfortunately, and will take some time to parse.)

The differences arising from “stupid pet tricks” are, in some cases, a not inconsiderable proportion of the claimed uncertainty. At present, I have no idea how Mannian “uncertainties” were calculated. I asked Mann et al 2008 reviewer for information on this topic, and, in his best traffic cop manner, he told me to “move on” – which I take to mean that he doesn’t have a clue how they were calculated.

3.  Sun’s Magnetic Field May Impact Weather And Climate: Sun Cycle Can Predict Rainfall Fluctuations“, ScienceDaily, 3 December 2008 — An example of the large flow of peer-reviewed literature on alternative drivers of modern climate changes. 

The sun’s magnetic field may have a significant impact on weather and climatic parameters in Australia and other countries in the northern and southern hemispheres. According to a study in Geographical Research, the droughts are related to the solar magnetic phases and not the greenhouse effect.

The study uses data from 1876 to the present to examine the correlation between solar cycles and the extreme rainfall in Australia.

The subject of the article is “Exploratory Analysis of Similarities in Solar Cycle Magnetic Phases with Southern Oscillation Index Fluctuations in Eastern Australia“, ROBERT G.V. BAKER ( Prof Robert G. V. Baker, School of Environmental Studies, University of New England, Australia), Geographical Research, December 2008, Pages 380 – 398.   Abstract:

There is growing interest in the role that the Sun’s magnetic field has on weather and climatic parameters, particularly the ~11 year sunspot (Schwab) cycle, the ~22 yr magnetic field (Hale) cycle and the ~88 yr (Gleissberg) cycle. These cycles and the derivative harmonics are part of the peculiar periodic behaviour of the solar magnetic field.

Using data from 1876 to the present, the exploratory analysis suggests that when the Sun’s South Pole is positive in the Hale Cycle, the likelihood of strongly positive and negative Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) values increase after certain phases in the cyclic ~22 yr solar magnetic field. The SOI is also shown to track the pairing of sunspot cycles in ~88 yr periods. This coupling of odd cycles, 23-15, 21-13 and 19-11, produces an apparently close charting in positive and negative SOI fluctuations for each grouping. This Gleissberg effect is also apparent for the southern hemisphere rainfall anomaly. Over the last decade, the SOI and rainfall fluctuations have been tracking similar values to that recorded in Cycle 15 (1914-1924).

This discovery has important implications for future drought predictions in Australia and in countries in the northern and southern hemispheres which have been shown to be influenced by the sunspot cycle. Further, it provides a benchmark for long-term SOI behaviour.

4.  Mann et al 2008 – Another Error Notice“, Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit, 5 December 2008 — A sad thing when a prominent scientist ignores his critics, even when forced to respond to them.  It’s not the size of the individual issues, but the principle at work.  Excerpt:

In previous posts, I’ve observed my inability to replicate Mann’s verification statistics, the source code for which was not archived despite representations to the contrary in the original article. Mann has issued another uninformative correction notice … which states:

UPDATE 1 December 2008: Supplementary Figure S8a had a small error due to improper calculation of the validation statistics. The corrected figure can be found here (PDF).”

5.  Satellite derived sea level updated“, Anthony Watts, Watts Up With That, 5 December 2008 — “The short-term trend has been shrinking since 2005.”  I esp recommend the discussion in the comments. Excerpt:

We’ve been waiting for the UC web page to be updated with the most recent sea level data. It finally has been updated for 2008. It looks like the steady upward trend of sea level as measured by satellite has stumbled since 2005. The 60 day line in blue tells the story …

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3 thoughts on “This week’s report on the news in climate science

  1. mclarn, sorry I have to totally disagree. FM is perfectly entitled to his opinion and he backs it up, unlike so many others, with a lot of evidence. Plus he is honest about his position.

    Now I am on totally the opposite side of the GW fence and have ‘crossed swards’ quite a few times with him (with the occational sharp comment from him). But I respect his position. Ok, I’m 99% sure he is wrong, but so what? He has been right on the nail in so many other areas, and as they say, no one is perfect.

    But he does provide a well researched forum that covers many areas, from politics, 4GW, economics, society, environment, energy, etc, etc. That I frankly think of as one of the best on the web in its depth and generality of the issues it covers. Plus he is a fair moderator. He does not cut off comments he does not like, he takes the time to ANSWER them. Pretty impressive I say. Hey I post here and enjoy the disagreements (strangely, we tend to agree in the end more than we disagree).

    Basically this is a forum for adults who can argue rationally. Want a single issue forum that everyone agrees with each other .. go for it.

    Oh, and don’t call FM a ‘troll’, make your point without name calling, that is simply childish.

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