BPSDB The climate change Deniers make four attempts to refute the Meehl et al NCAR: Record high temperatures far outpace record lows study.
Four tries, four epic FAILS!
In reporting on the study which showed that “…daily record high temperatures occurred twice as often as record lows over the last decade across the continental United States.” Wattsupmybutt spins it as Number of record highs beat record lows – if you believe the quality of data from the weather stations ie repeating the false claim that surface station temperature monitoring is unreliable
Not to mention that ” … undergo a quality control process at the data center that looks for such potential problems as missing data as well as inconsistent readings caused by changes in thermometers, station locations, or other factors.” Record Highs Far Outpace Record Lows Across U.S.
but fair enough, at least Watts is consistent.
Just the day before he reported that “October USA – temperature 3rd coldest on record, wettest ever on record” with absolutely no mention of how unreliable those surface stations are. So let me get this straight, the equipment is unreliable when reporting warmth, but reliable when reporting cold?
Obvious Alert! Either you believe the equipment is reliable or you don’t, but pick one and stand by it (like that’s going to happen).
Watts has a Second Seizure
“… headline proclamations fail to disclose important details of the actual findings … In other words, our days are not becoming extremely hotter, but our nights are becoming less extremely cold.”
OK, the argument is that ‘we’re not getting warmer, in reality we’re actually just getting warmer.‘ Did that make sense to you? It apparently makes sense to Watts and the rest of the Deniers.
Or maybe they are claiming once again that the Laws of Thermodynamics and basic physics are wrong? maybe their premise is that it takes less heat energy to raise air temperature from say 5 degrees C to 6 then from 15 to 16? Is that the premise? The silliness continues:
“Instead of highlighting this, the NCAR press release not only tries to confuse it with all sorts of graphs and numbers“
Yes, we have noticed that actual data in the form of pictures and numbers etc baffles the Denialosphere; I’m just surprised they are so willing to admit it.
” … but by also suggesting that this observation—nights warming more than days—is what is expected because of a rising greenhouse effect, …“
Which is exactly what we actually do expect … duh
“This finding is consistent with years of climate model research showing that higher overnight lows should be expected with climate change.”
Record lows occur on clear nights when the surface radiates to space and the surface cools quickly. Greenhouse gases directly interfere with that process. Therefore all else equal less severe low temperatures are to be expected.
Climate models of every stripe, as far as I know, generally agree that this is the case.
On the contrary, direct heating equally would increase both record highs and record lows, not substantially affecting the proportion.
It is because the first order effect of CO2 is to suppress surface cooling rather than to enhance surface warming that this is indeed a reasonable place to look for observational confirmation.
but then they would have to actually know something about climate science to have known that.
“While it is true that an enhanced greenhouse effect should warm nights more than days, …”
Oh, they DO know that, they just wanted to say something completely irrelevant and pointless. Carrying on:
” … so too does the processes of urbanization—something which has not been accounted for in the results of Meehl et al. (because it is virtually impossible to do so at a daily level), but something that is widely known to be occurring.”
1) As discussed above, Heat Island temperatures are profoundly affected by cloud cover, whereas CO2 is not, so it is not so hard to test and verify which is the cause.
2) “Widely known” to the Denialosphere, just not to the reality based science community (as above).
We then move to some discussion of the subscription only paper itself.
” … the model results depicted in Meehl et al.’s paper don’t show this at all. In fact, the model in the paper—the NCAR climate model—shows that it expects daily high records should be being increasing (above expectations of no climate change) at about the same frequency that daily minimum temperature records should be decreasing. This model expectation is shown by observations to be wrong.“
“Shown by observations to be wrong” apparently means in this case “I eyeballed the graph and that’s how it looks to me.” Well it doesn’t look that way to me, and your actual analysis is where?
OBVIOUS ALERT! The reason we use mathematical tools like measures of error and tests of significance in science is because “that’s how it looks to me” is untestable, subjective opinion. Subjective opinion leads to idiotic conclusions like “This model expectation is shown by observations to be wrong.”
IF you have any sort of real analysis that supports your claim that Meehl et al is wrong then talk about it, but spare us the uninformed, fact free blather.
The Seizures get worse
Boy, the NCAR paper really has the Denialosphere freaked out. Apparently Watt’s feels his earlier efforts did not actually refute the study (very true, they didn’t … they’re just nonsense), so we get Why NCAR’s Meehl paper on high/low temperature records is bunk.
“…did not include the 1930’s and 1940’s and earlier, conspicuously missing from the NCAR graphic below: The answer: those decades are inconvenient to the conclusion Meehl makes from a cherrypicked portion of the US data. There were many many temperature records during this period.”
Well, we know that 30 years worth of data represents climatic trends,
so actually six decades is more than enough valid data to document a real current climatic trend, and adding two more decades would NOT falsify Meehl et al. Still, adding the extra decades is definitely of interest, so let’s see what Watts has to say.
Apparently Richard Alan Keen writes about his book, Skywatch West:
” … the weather and climate of the 11 western states, plus Alaska, plus 6 western Canadian provincs and territories.“
Wait, what? You’re switching to a different study area, including only 11 of the 50 States that Meehl et al studied, are and claiming this refutes Meehl et al? How could it? That’s like ‘here, let me prove the Congo is not hot, just look at these averaged southern Congo + Antarctic temperature records’ … wtf?
And he accuses Meehl et al of cherry picking when they used twice as much data as they needed to (more than necessary and all of it relevant), while Watts picks only the States that fit the conclusion he wants? Hypocrisy much? Anyway …
- Of the all-time record maximum temperatures, 10 occurred before 1940 (the first six decades), and 8 after (the second six decades).
- For record minimum temperatures, the reverse is true: 8 records before 1940, 10 afterwards.
- Half of the records – 8 maximum and 10 minimum, a total of 18 – occurred during the middle three decades of the 1930’s, 40’s, and 50’s, and of these nearly a third of the total (10) were during the 1930’s alone.
Those look about balanced to me, what does the statistical analysis say? particularly the corrections for size of data sets given the changing number of stations over the time series? Where’s the analysis? What? There is no analysis? Nothing? Just more “that’s how it looks to me”???
This is just getting stupid.
Granted this is not the entire USA dataset, only western states, and one could say that I’m engaging in the same sort of cherrypicking that Meehl et al engages in by illustrating it here.
No! not “the same sort”! Meehl et al did not cherry pick, whereas Watts definitely did.
But there’s more.
Please not, not more … anything but that.
“The graph in #127 may be overly influenced by single extreme heat waves or cold snaps. So, here’s a look at broader populations.
The first is a look at the decades in which summer high temperature records were set. This covers the contiguous US for the three typically hottest months (June/July/August). A single nationwide event would affect the records for one month but not for all three, so this plot should be less-influenced by single extreme events.”
Note: The trendlines for all three graphs are essentially flat (no trend) if the prorated early 2000s are excluded from the trend calculations.
OBVIOUS ALERT! May be, could be, might be, are essentially, blah blah blah … innuendo and speculation are NOT refutation. Is it or isn’t it? Fire up Excel and crunch the numbers and show that it is, IF it is. Just do it!
And if it isn’t, why are your lips moving?
Grand mal seizure, sigh
For yet another attempt to refute the NCAR paper Watts turns to A Critique of the October 2009 NCAR Study Regarding Record Maximum to Minimum Ratios from Hall of Record (which apparently promotes itself as “Stupidity has it’s own rewards” and “News About Stupidity“; wow, they’re being really upfront about it these days, aren’t they?) by Bruce Hall.
” … it falls short of being both statistically and scientifically complete. Hence, the conclusions from this study are prone to significant bias and any projections from this study are likely incorrect.
By selecting a period of cooling as the starting point, the NCAR study “stacks the deck” in favor of a warming trend. This is the same problem with the 1880s as a starting point for the longer term trend, but due to shorter cyclical variations within the 130 years longer trend data are somewhat tempered. There is no full climate cycle in the NCAR study.
- since average temperature is always cooling or warming any study will invariably start in one trend or the other, which in no way invalidates the study. The Meehl et al study merely purports to show what has been happening since 1950, and as discussed above, 30 year data sets are sufficient to show real trends and NOT be influenced by inter-annual variation ie ‘noise.’
- a hidden assumption here is that the cooling trend ended naturally in the 1950s, a logical fallacy known as a Bulversim.
- IF the alleged natural cooling trend has not ended, then the warming demonstrated is actually far worse than the study suggests;
- even IF the alleged natural cooling trend has ended (which has not been shown), that does not invalidate the demonstration of a warming trend, nor does it show that all, some, or any of the warming is necessarily natural.
To refute Meehl et al Hall has to show that the study is invalid regardless of where it started. Further, it Hall wants to argue that there are natural trends then he has to make a case for it and show the periodicity. Here he is just assuming there is and that it fits the pattern he wants it to.
We then get a repetition of the false surface station meme (as above, fail) followed by:
The charts below show the results of nearly 4/5ths of the U.S. weather stations and demonstrate a significant bias toward errors greater than +2°C or about three times the total trend reported for global warming.
False. i) Even though the error range is greater than the trend, any instrumentation can still show a trend smaller than the error range if sufficient and proper measurements are taken. That is what statistical analysis is for. If Hall wants to demonstrate that this is true then he has to actually has to do it, not just claim it.
ii) all of Hall’s own work is based on the same temperature data. If the instrumentation means Meehl et al is bullshit, then so is everything Hall does. He can’t have it both ways.
Now the alleged logic get’s truly Byzantine. Hall uses previous work he has done to refute Meehl et al‘s contention that ‘we see the warming in less record cold, not so much in record heat’ by demonstrating that there’s not really an increase in record heat … just like Meehl et al says.
He then restates:
- The trendline used by those claiming a long term warming begins in a very cool climate period. Consequently, any trend from that point will be upward.
Only because Hall assumes that the cooling trend ended naturally at that point:
- something Hall needed to show and not assume … and he didn’t show it;
- “any trend from that point will be upward” a cooling trend from that point wouldn’t be upward, would it? duh!
but wait, there’s more:
- The late 1990s were an aberration and not indicative of the general climate oscillations presented in these records
The claim of aberration is made based on record highs alone, and not on average temperature. Guess what? global warming is about increase in average temperature over a long term trend, NOT the number of record highs.
Hall then extrapolates the NCAR study and invokes the Hockey Stick
as a way to discredit the NCAR study to a readership that believes that anything that shows increasing temperatures is false ie the implied logic is that ‘this study showing warming is false because it shows warming’, although he does not come right out and say it.
Hall then uses the ratio of maximum to minimum temperature ratios plotted with an undisclosed polynomial fit (pick a high enough order polynomial and you can fit anything).
The 1930s were, by far, the hottest period for the time frame. The ratio of maximum to minimum temperatures is greater in the 2000s, but the absolute number of monthly statewide extreme records is far less significant making the ratio far less significant.
So by the measure Hall claims is significant the 30s were the hottest, except when they weren’t, in which case Hall dismisses the measure he claimed was significant and declares that the absolute number of state wide records is what is important. So it’s important when it supports his claim, but not when it doesn’t? Got it.
And why are we talking about this anyway? Meehl et al claims to have demonstrated that the ratio of record highs to ratio lows has been increasing. Demonstrating shifts in the absolute numbers may be interesting, but it doesn’t refute Meehl et al; in fact it is consistent with the NCAR study.
Even 130 years of data, starting from a relatively cold period, gives a very brief look at climate history for the U.S. and certainly one that is not sufficient to extrapolate a general warming trend, much less an accelerating one.
Except, as documented above, it is sufficient to demonstrate a trend, and nothing in this piece addresses that.
“In the face of the recent decline in new all-time monthly statewide maximum records, it is more probable that we may be facing a cyclical decline in our overall temperature and that something similar to the 1960s and 1970s may be a far more realistic projection.”
Again with the obsessing with record maximums as if that somehow refutes Meehl et al, when in fact it is consistent with it.
“Our most recent winters have been particularly colder than long-term averages…”
“…particularly colder than long-term averages” where did that come from? Which “most recent“? what “long-term averages“? The old “pulling a rabbit out in the conclusion when it was never discussed in the post itself” trick … shades of The Three Stooges, and completely unjustified.
” … and minimal sunspot activity may be another harbinger of this normal cyclical variation in our relatively stable climate.”
What “normal cyclical variation“? the one that was assumed but never actually demonstrated or documented? Once again taking as a given what you most needed to show? As for “minimal sunspot activity“, it’s well known and accounted for in the science, so let’s not pretend that you are introducing something new.
The Deniers allege that Meehl et al is wrong because:
- the instruments are wrong – Fail
- it’s not getting warmer, it’s actually getting warmer – Fail
- the data set that was more than adequate wasn’t adequate – Fail
- the pattern seen in Meehl et al fits an implied natural trend that is never demonstrated but assumed to exist – Fail
Tip of the Hat to Anthony Watts for collecting the nonsense in one place and saving me having to look for it.
“Since 1982, spring in East Asia (defined here as the eastern third of China and the Korean Peninsula) has been warming at a rate of one degree Fahrenheit per decade.” Earth Gauge
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