Climate lies are the tool of choice by both sides to influence your opinion. Why is that?

Summary: As the climate policy wars go for higher stakes, the public debate (among non-scientists) shifts from science to propaganda (both Left and Right, each in their distinctive way). That’s rational, since modern Americans are so gullible — and have no resentment towards those who lie to them. The tribe is all that matters. When we break these fetters of the mind, we’ll be ready for the challenges of the 21st century.

The truth is out there
The truth is out there

Contents

  1. The smoking gun among the global warming fraudsters
  2. The latest hockey stick of global temperatures
  3. America is burning!
  4. Increasing number of tornadoes
  5. About global warming
  6. For More Information

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(1) The smoking gun among the global warming fraudsters

“Unless we announce disasters, no one will listen.”
— Sir John Houghton in his book Global Warming: The Complete Briefing. He was co-chairman of the IPCC’s scientific assessment group.

Is this quote incriminating, deserving its 700 thousand hits on Google? No. Like so many powerful quotes circulated among conservatives, it is fake (see details in The Independent). None of those thousands of writers bothered to check the quote (note: all quotes on the FM website are checked). Any more than for the widely circulated ones about democracy and about guns,

The incidence of fake quotes shows the contempt for their audience that almost defines conservative leaders, and the movement’s contempt for facts. Next, we see how the Left uses straightforward misinformation to gain your trust. The truth is out there, but both sides find that lies are more politically useful. We can change that.

(2) The latest hockey stick of global temperatures

A firestorm of alarm was ignited by the most recent temperature “hockey stick”: “A Reconstruction of Regional and Global Temperature for the Past 11,300 Years“, Shaun A. Marcott et al, Science, 8 March 2003. Especially this graph:

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Globally stacked temperature anomalies for the 5° × 5° area-weighted mean calculation (purple line) with its 1σ uncertainty (blue band) and Mann et al.’s global CRU-EIV composite mean temperature (dark gray line) with their uncertainty (light gray band).

Marcotte Hockey Stick

Stephen McIntyre of climateaudit.org reviewed this article and noticed oddities in the data and analysis. In response the authors release a statement with additional details, including this remarkable admission:

Our global paleotemperature reconstruction includes a so-called “uptick” in temperatures during the 20th-century. However, in the paper we make the point that this particular feature is of shorter duration than the inherent smoothing in our statistical averaging procedure, and that it is based on only a few available paleo-reconstructions of the type we used. Thus, the 20th century portion of our paleotemperature stack is not statistically robust, cannot be considered representative of global temperature changes, and therefore is not the basis of any of our conclusions.

The 20th century temperature spike is, of course, the aspect of their article that provoked the publicity. Yet despite this admission, this graph still appears in the work of lay climate activists — without mention of the authors’ disclaimer. Such as this article by propagandist Phil Plait at Slate.

(3) About wildfires: America is burning

The US Forest Service’s 1905 – 1974 policy of fire suppression turned much of our western forests into tinderboxes. Despite this well-documented fact (with no easy solution), it’s become fashionable to describe this year’s fires as extraordinary. They’re not, in either number or size, as shown by these numbers from the National Interagency Fire Center. Number of fires and total acres burned:

Year-to-date statistics
2013 (1/1/13 – 7/8/13) Fires: 23,629 Acres: 1,879,510
2012 (1/1/12 – 7/8/12) Fires: 30,284 Acres: 2,519,367
2011 (1/1/11 – 7/8/11) Fires: 38,452 Acres: 4,926,718
2010 (1/1/10 – 7/8/10) Fires: 32,210 Acres: 1,522,909
2009 (1/1/09 – 7/8/09) Fires: 46,769 Acres: 2,089,463
2008 (1/1/08 – 7/8/08) Fires: 46,113 Acres: 2,719,679
2007 (1/1/07 – 7/8/07) Fires: 49,167 Acres: 1,292,673
2006 (1/1/06 – 7/8/06) Fires: 61,180 Acres: 3,994,924
2005 (1/1/05 – 7/8/05) Fires: 32,416 Acres: 2,978,279
2004 (1/1/03 – 7/8/04) Fires: 40,470 Acres: 2,922,638
10-year average: 2004-2013 Fires: 40,069 Acres: 2,784,616

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In terms of annual totals, 2006 & 2007 were the record years (followed by 2011 & 2012) — but the state of our forests mean these records probably will get broken. Also compare this list of recent large fires (1997-now) with noteworthy wildfires of the past two centuries.

For more information see this history of the 1910 fire season (over 5 million acres burned), this history of the Forest Service’s prevention programs, and the Wikipedia’s list of the largest forest fires in North America.

(4) Increasing number of tornadoes

Every severe outbreak of tornadoes brings allusions to global warming, and warnings about the wraith of nature to come from more death-funnels from the sky. The National Weather Service website says otherwise. First, let’s look at this year vs. recent history.
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Tornado Graph

Next, what’s the trend?

“… the increase in tornado reports over the last 54 years is almost entirely due to secular trends such as population increase, increased tornado awareness, and more robust and advanced reporting networks.”

Tornado Record

NOAA says the same:

With increased national Doppler radar coverage, increasing population, and greater attention to tornado reporting, there has been an increase in the number of tornado reports over the past several decades. This can create a misleading appearance of an increasing trend in tornado frequency. … The bar charts below indicates there has been little trend in the frequency of the stronger tornadoes over the past 55 years.

(5) About global warming

While cheering madly (ie, irrationally, emotionally, hysterically) for their faction of scientists, laypeople often lose sight of the big picture — the key elements for making public policy.

  • The major global temperature measurement systems tell — broadly speaking — the same story since the late 1970s: two decades of warming, followed by a pause.
  • This is consistent with the larger firm conclusions of climate scientists: two centuries of warming, coming in pulses (ie, waves), with anthropogenic factors becoming the largest (not the only) drivers since roughly 1950.
  • The work of the IPCC and the major science institutes are the best guides for information about these issues.

(6) For More Information

To learn more about trends in extreme weather:

Posts about extreme climate trends:

  1. Climate Armageddon postponed (again): the melting polar ice, 9 October 2010
  2. Looking into the past for guidance about warnings of future climate apocalypses, 17 October 2010
  3. Run from the rising waves! (The latest climate catastrophe scare), 27 June 2012
  4. Ignorance and propaganda about extreme climate change, 10 July 2012
  5. A look behind the curtain at the news of extreme climate events in the US, 22 August 2012
  6. Hurricane Sandy asks when did weather become exceptional? (plus important info about US hurricanes), 28 October 2012
  7. Has global warming increased the frequency & virulence of extreme weather events?, 10 February 2013
  8. The Oklahoma tornadoes can teach us about our climate, and ourselves, 22 May 2013

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8 thoughts on “Climate lies are the tool of choice by both sides to influence your opinion. Why is that?

  1. “When we break these fetters of the mind, we’ll be ready for the challenges of the 21st century.”

    In my country,Australia, we are witnessing the collapse of integrity in science as practiced in our once honourable universities. Two professors, Carter and Salby, have been ousted from their positions at James Cook University and Macquarie University, respectively.
    The reasons? Not toeing CAGW politically correct line which is slavishly followed by our soon to be cast out socialist government. The same government which tried, unsuccessfully thank God, to pass legislative Acts that would censor the media and turn hurt feelings into a crime.

    Silencing dissenting views is no way meet challenges of the 21st century!

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2013/06/another-nail-in-the-climate-change-coffin.php
    http://www.townsvillebulletin.com.au/article/2013/06/28/384514_news.html

    PS graphs of events spanning a 100 year period are next to useless as they represent just 3 climate data points.

    1. Thanks for the links to the articles about Aussie professors.!

      “PS graphs of events spanning a 100 year period are next to useless as they represent just 3 climate data points.”

      I do not understand. There is a modestly complete temperature dataset for the past 100 years, sufficient to show the warming trend. What do you mean by “3 data points”.

      Nothing like the coverage and precision of the 1979– satellite record, of course.

  2. Thanks for the response. In climate science a data point is accepted as being a period of 30 years. In some way this helps in ironing out the spikes of highs & lows and the longer the period, the better the view.
    The major problem I see with “climate change” is that of the projections and attributions are the interpretations of models. One rather odd thing is that the data from NASA et al does not necessarily agree with these projections. The lack of empirical evidence that human generated CO2 emissions are likely to cause dangerous global warming is the fundamental key to the “war” being waged against well-credentialed sceptical scientists.
    Ian Frazer, the Australian immunologist jointly credited with the invention of the anti cervical cancer vaccine, remarked at an Australian Press Club address that the leap from observation to causation must not be made without evidence. Otherwise it is a leap of faith.
    The 1979-on satellite record is indeed instructive along with the 2003-on Argo ocean heat content monitors.
    As an after thought, I recommend Vaclav Klaus’s book titled “Blue Planet in Green Shackles” sub-titled “What is Endangered: Climate or Freedom?”

    1. Davesivyer,

      Thanks for the cautionary notes. One detail, however:

      “climate science a data point is accepted as being a period of 30 years”

      Thirty years is the standard for establishing baselines, the averages against which new data are compared.

  3. All modelling is a projection and is subject to projection errors (I know I build these things). The first test that a model has to pass is modelling the past. None of the current (constantly improving) climate models fail that test at a gross level.

    Then there are precision errors. Any model has a limit to its precision. You might be able (taking a local example) predict Melbourne’s weather overall tomorrow to a high degree of precision but that doesn’t mean that that weather for my suburb is exactly that. Given it’s large area then local variations can be extreme.

    None of the current climate models are accurate within a small area, but overall their average precision is a (eg) a hemisphere, is quite good.

    I know that CSIRO’s ones, for Australia overall (and large areas) have been pretty good. For example, farmers get warnings at least a year in advance about probable outcomes for the year ahead (important for their planning). Are they accurate for a particular small region? Nope. But overall for the larger area they have a really good track record.

    Unknown variables not taken into account in early models (or even fully the most latest). The UK and much of Northern Europe is the poster child for this one. The impacts of changes in the Northern jet stream were (and mostly still are) poorly understood. These can cause huge regional variations (all ways hot and cold , wet and dry).

    So it is an evolving science (as all science is). But, and here is the ‘But’, the overall (large area) predictions of even the early models (late 1990s) have been pretty much on the nail.

    In the northern hemisphere it is warming more quickly the further North you go. In the Southern Hemisphere, mostly water, we are seeing the ocean temp rises asw basically predicted. For example (because it is a multi-disciplinary science) Australia’s southern eastern coast (including Tasmania)is showing large rises in temp, both by direct measurements and by observing sea life (of all types) movement,

    These are broad brush changes of course. At the micro level you can observe positive and negative (temp wise) changes, because small local variations depend on even more complex feedback (etc) mechanisms than large scale ones do.

    But I start from a simple basis, degree in Physics, more greenhouse gasses (CO2, methane, etc) equals more energy trapping in the biosphere .. unless there is a countervailing mechanisms (eg albedo). That simple. You can prove it (without even knowing EM theory or quantum electrodynamics) in a high school experiment.

    Now how it impacts in a particular region and when, that is difficult and way above my skill level.

    I just continue to download the GISS data and do my own analysis .. and watch it all play out.

    The saddest thing is that is all unnecessary, there is (except perhaps for a few poor geographical challenged areas) no need to burn coal (the biggest CO2, etc emitter by orders of magnitude) to generate electricity. Not with our technology.

    When I was 11 years of age (45 years ago) I got (with my father and uncle) a trip around Hunterston AGR nuclear plant (much, much safer and better than the US PW designs). We got the real tour, because another uncle was a nuclear engineer there.

    After it all (including looking at the core through 6′ of leaded glass) if you has asked me about burning coal for electricity I would have laughed in your face.

    If you had told me that the World would be burning even vaster amounts of coal in the 21st century I would have scoffed at you… “no one could be that stupid”. I would have said.

    Well we were .. and are that stupid .. and now we pay the price. Out future generations pay an even bigger price, because there will be no coal/oil or gas for them .. but we don’t care..

    1. Oldskeptic,

      You might be all right and shinny, but I no longer read such things. The debate about climate science has advanced to the point that we have expert commentary on such things — and IMO amateur analysis is just chaff in the air.

      For anyone interesting in learning about Climate Models from an actual climate scientist, I recommend looking at Judith Curry’s website (Prof, GA Institute of Tech):

      Climate Model Tuning — “Arguably the most poorly documented aspect of climate models is how they are calibrated, or ‘tuned’”

      How should we interpret an ensemble of models? — Part One: weather models and Part Two: climate models.

      Excerpts from and comments on “What Are Climate Models Missing?” by Bjorn Stevens and Sandrine Bony in Science, 31 May 2013.

      Recommended: “Climate Science and the Uncertainty Monster” by J. A. Curry and P. J. Webster, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, December 2011.

      Links to all her articles about climate models

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