Opinion: The case for global warming is in serious doubt

Retired science teacher Peter Foster, of Waikouaiti, believes the case for global warming is anything but settled. Here he explains his views (links are in italics). 

Multi proxy temperature for last 2000 years. Please click on image to view graph
Multi proxy temperature for last 2000 years. Please click on image to view graph
The basis for climate alarm stems from two sets of climate graphs, one covering the last 1000 years - the hockey stick graph used by Al Gore in his film, and the other set are the temperature changes over the last 150 years. Without either no one would give a toss about CO2.

The 1990 IPCC report showed that in the last 1000 years the medieval warm period (MWP) 900-1300 AD was slightly warmer than the present time, but its 2001 and subsequent reports contained the Michael Mann based graphs showing unprecedented warming in late 20th century with no MWP and no little ice age.

In a peer reviewed 2005 paper, McIntyre and McKitrick took Mann's graph to task. Basically Mann was funded by US Congress and through them was forced to make available his data and algorithms. McIntyre showed that you can take a set of random numbers in Excel, apply Mann's methodology and you will get a hockey stick graph.

As a result of the McIntyre & McKitrick paper the US Congress ordered two reviews into the matter, both of which condemned the hockey stick graph, as did the Penn State University investigation by Wegmen et al, which in polite speak said Mann's paper was rubbish. A readable analysis of the appalling construction of this graph by McKitrick can be found here.

Mann's graph was followed by similar ones in the Amman and Wahl papers which all suffered from the same problems and were rejected by several science journals but somehow made it into the IPCC 4th Assessment Report. You can read this sorry saga at this web site.

Next came the Briffa graph based on 12 selected tree cores from the Yamal peninsular in Russia. They were selected from 46 cores of still growing trees because they "fitted the hockey stick" - what sort of science do you call that? When the other 34 equivalent cores were added in the medieval warm period reappeared and the modern warm period ceased to show any unprecedented modern warming, see here for full analysis. (tree rings are affected by many things, CO2 and water strongly affect rings as well as temperature).

Nordic Temperatures over 150 years. Please click on image to view graph
Nordic Temperatures over 150 years. Please click on image to view graph
Next Mann produced his latest incarnation but inverted the data he was using called the Tiljander series, so inverting the temperatures. How can you have any faith in guys like these?

There is plenty of evidence from pollen distribution and other proxies, and from historical accounts of where plants grew then but cannot grow now, that the medieval warm period was warmer than the present warm period. Therefore, when one sees graphs showing the opposite it should cause any scientist to question either the construct of that graph or the data that suggests otherwise and the latter is pretty robust.

The hockey stick and its re-incarnations are products of poor science and/or faulty statistical analysis and it is time that that was recognised. The 2006 NAS report, relied on by many people, is out of date.

What is left after all of this, is the original research that was published in the 1990 IPCC report based on proxies as shown in the accompanying graph. e.g. Loehle These proxies show no unprecedented warming in the late 20th century.

Now to the last 100 years or so.

Recently the Hadley Climate Research Unit (HadCRU) at the University of East Anglia was hacked into and the emails and computer programs used there were released onto the Internet. For a brief outline of poor science, manipulation of science journals and the thinking of these high priests of global warming refer to the Telegraph and various articles here

HadCRU hold the largest database of world temperatures and is the most influential source of information on global warming for the IPCC, consequently errors from HadCRU have huge political implications. 

Have you read...?

Dr Palin,
Have you read (Pachauri, 2010) "Return to Almora" yet, or are you waiting for the peer-review?

A point by point response


You say:
At any given ocean temperature there will be a fixed ratio of pCO2atmosphere to pCO2water.

Mostly correct. The equilibrium ratio of pCO2atmosphere to pCO2water also depends on ocean alkalinity which is determined by the overall chemical composition of the water. It is also important to point out that pCO2water includes not only dissolved free carbon dioxide (CO2(aq)), but carbonic acid (H2CO3), bicarbonate (HCO3−) and carbonate (CO3=). For a given temperature and alkalinity, ocean acidity is positively related to pCO2water.

Here is a link to a website where you can download a spreadsheet to calculate carbonate equilibria in the oceans for a variety of temperatures and pCO2atmosphere values.

If the temperature is constant then the rate of degassing will equal the rate of absorption.

If the system has reached equilibrium, then this is correct.

If temperature is rising then the rate of degassing will be greater than the rate of absorption until a new equilibrium is established at higher pCO2 atmosphere than before.

Yes, but why? The equilibrium ratio of pCO2atmosphere to pCO2water increases at higher temperature. The amount of carbon available on the short time scales of ocean-atmosphere exchange is limited so, by mass balance, as pCO2atmosphere increases, pCO2water must decrease. The new equilibrium will be achieved by a transient period of disequilibrium during which the rate of degassing of CO2 exceeds that of absorption. (Note, however the absolute rates could both increase, but not by the same amount.) The two rates will approach equality as the new equilibrium is approached.

But, if extra CO2 is added to the atmosphere, lets say at the same rate as the natural increase from degassing then the rates of forward and reverse reactions will remain the same and CO2 in upper ocean will increase.

OK, there could be a very special situation in which CO2 from an external source was added to the atmosphere at just the right rate as temperature rose to achieve the required higher equilibrium ratios of pCO2atmosphere to pCO2water solely by increasing pCO2atmosphere with no change in pCO2water (or ocean acidity). In such a case, there would be no transient state of disequilibrium and the rates of CO2 degassing and absorption by the ocean (forward and reverse reactions) would remain equal.

Likewise, there could be a situation in which external CO2 was added to the atmosphere at a rate greater than that required to exactly satisfy the higher equilibrium ratios of pCO2atmosphere to pCO2water as temperature rose. In this case, pCO2water (and ocean acidity) would need to increase and thus, the rate of CO2 absorption by the ocean would exceed the rate of degassing over some time period until the new equilibrium value was attained.

This latter case describes Earth’s current situation. Anthropogenic burning of fossil fuels is supplying CO2 to the atmosphere at an unprecedented rate and pCO2water and ocean acidity are increasing.

However, the controlling factor remains the temperature of the ocean.

Temperature is important in setting the equilibrium ratio of pCO2atmosphere to pCO2water, but the rates of ocean-atmosphere exchange determine the response time of the oceans to addition of CO2 to the atmosphere.

If the ocean became saturated due to rate of production, then all human CO2 would be added to the atmosphere (apart from the exchange that occurs in any dynamic equilibrium) but studies recently released show that the capacity of the ocean to absorb CO2 has not diminished so it is not saturated.

Not sure what you are getting at here. The oceans are certainly not “saturated” with respect to CO2 in the sense that they are responding to the current increase in atmospheric CO2 by absorbing CO2 and hence pCO2water and ocean acidity are increasing.

It then becomes a question of rates. Is the rate of natural degassing greater or less than the rate of increase from human sources.

It is not only a question of rate, but also of magnitude.

High-latitude ocean surface temperature have fluctuated about 4 degrees Celsius with Earth’s glacial-interglacial cycles (go here for relevant data). There are excellent records available from ice cores of corresponding changes in atmospheric CO2. Over the last 800,000 years, atmospheric CO2 concentrations have regularly varied between 170 ppm during glacial periods and 285 ppm during interglacial periods. Atmospheric CO2 varied between 270 and 285 ppm for several thousand years prior to 1850, but then the effect of burning of fossil fuels began to dominate. Current atmospheric CO2 has reached 387 ppm and the rate of increase shows no signs of slowing. This concentration is unprecedented over the last 800,000 years at least and cannot be explained by degassing given the observed rate and magnitude of ocean temperature increase since 1850.

The isotopes of carbon provide independent evidence that the source of increased CO2 in the atmosphere is from burning of fossil fuels.

Such arguments affect ocean acidity only as CO2 is not the dominant driving factor in climate change.

According the bulk of the peer-reviewed scientific research on the subject, an increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases, mostly CO2 derived from burning of fossil fuels, is the principal driver of climate change over the last 150 years.

One more issue

Don't forget the issue of better education to reduce ignorance.

Papers on ocean acidification

Here are links to two papers from Nature that deal with aspects of the ongoing acidification of the oceans. The first (available here) shows that future levels of acid in the oceans will be higher than at any time in the last 300 million years given current trend in anthropogenic CO2 emissions. The second (available here) goes into greater detail and explains the likely impacts these higher levels of acid will have on calcifying organisms. Needless to say, neither supports Peter's version of the short term carbon cycle and carbonate equilibria in the oceans.

Blogosphere wrong again

For anyone interested, the peer-reviewed paper that Peter alludes to was recently published in Geophysical Research Letters. It shows that the supposed bias of the surface temperature stations alleged by Anthony Watts actually causes the raw data to be slightly cooler, not warmer, and that most of this effect was accounted for in the data analysis. A copy of the paper is available here. Enjoy!

Supportive of what?


More links to popular media and contrarian blogs. When will it stop?

You say that in the Times article, Professor Beddington supports what you have been saying for some time. Is this true when he says, "It’s unchallengeable that CO2 traps heat and warms the Earth and that burning fossil fuels shoves billions of tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere." And, "Some people ask why we should act when scientists say they are only 90 per cent certain about the problem. But would you get on a plane that had a 10 per cent chance of landing?” [Abridged]

Climate change, selfish and proud of it

Reading all these comments reinforces my view that scientists, dabblers and Joe Bloggs' don't have a clue. You have one camp preaching doom and destruction should we continue burning fossil fuels, with the other camp busilly disputing any findings.

It is a pity they dont put as much effort and money into solving issues such as poverty, inequality etc, etc.

I really dont care. I am thankfull that I wake up each morning. I take the weather for that day and make the best of it. I do however make every effort to increase my carbon footprint at every opportunity, enjoying the simple pleasures advancement of technolgy has brought my generation.

The next generation can clean up if they please - I did enough cleaning up after them when they were young. [Abridged]

CO2 Indigestion

Peter, I too have read chief scientist Beddington's call for 'honesty on climate change.' Puts another slant on the debate. The confusion, or complexities of the arguments are all the more reason why governments ought not to be making rash assumptions over a subject which is less determined than ever. On another point Mike, there is no doubt that CO2 mixed with water (preferrably fresh) is wonderful for indigestion. You should perhaps try it.

co2 equilibria

Let me put it a better way.
At any given ocean temperature there will be a fixed ratio of pCO2atmosphere to pCO2water. If the temperature is constant then the rate of degassing will equal the rate of absorption. If temperature is rising then the rate of degassing will be greater than the rate of absorption until a new equilibrium is established at higher pCO2 atmosphere than before.

But, if extra CO2 is added to the atmosphere, lets say at the same rate as the natural increase from degassing then the rates of forward and reverse reactions will remain the same and CO2 in upper ocean will increase.

However, the controlling factor remains the temperature of the ocean. If the ocean became saturated due to rate of production, then all human CO2 would be added to the atmosphere (apart from the exchange that occurs in any dynamic equilibrium) but studies recently released show that the capacity of the ocean to absorb CO2 has not diminished so it is not saturated.

It then becomes a question of rates. Is the rate of natural degassing greater or less than the rate of increase from human sources.
Such arguments affect ocean acidity only as CO2 is not the dominant driving factor in climate change.

Changing the topic.There is a recent call by the UK chief science advisor which supports what I have been saying for some time. See here.

With respect to Paul's article supposedly debunking Anthony Watts surface station work. There is a comment here that shows a jumping of the gun by a scientist presenting a political viewpoint. Should never have passed the peer review process but then in climate science that process has been highly abused.

Ocean acidity and carbon isotopes

Hi Peter,

Carbonate equilibria in the ocean may be complex, but it is also quite well understood. When the partial pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere increases, more CO2 will dissolve into the surface layers of the ocean, where some of it will combine with water to form bicarbonate and hydrogen ions, thus making the ocean more acid.

If the surface oceans degas CO2, the opposite reaction will take place and ocean acidity will drop.

The fact that ocean acidity has increased in concert with atmospheric CO2 provides strong evidence that the oceans are not the source of the CO2.

The clincher to the argument comes when the 3 isotopes of C, stable 12C and 13C and radioactive 14C, are measured in CO2 in the atmosphere and used as a "fingerprint" for its source. These data show that the 13C and 14C contents of atmospheric CO2 are dropping consistent with fossil fuels as the source because they have low 13C and are too old to have any 14C.

CO2 from the upper ocean, on the other hand, would have higher amounts of 13C and 14C because of rapid exchange with the atmosphere.

The mass balance indicates about half of all the CO2 released from burning of fossil fuels has accumulated in the atmosphere with the remainder dissolved into the ocean and other sinks.

Atmospheric CO2

Hi Mike
Oceans have been warming for some 14,000 years, initially quite rapidly and then far more slowly for the last 8000 years or so if I remember the graph correctly.

The argo buoys show that the oceans have been losing heat for the past 8 years, but the overall trend since the start of the interglacial has been an increase.

The various forms of carbon in the ocean form a very complex set of dynamic equilibria so there is a danger in simplification.

However, the ocean does not care what the source of the carbon is, only the relative partial pressures between atmosphere and ocean.

If CO2 in the atmosphere is increased from terrestrial sources then that would not change the equilibrium but it would slow the rate of exchange from ocean to atmosphere.

Secondly, the exchange of CO2 must take place in surface water, so how does the carbon from deeper colder water come to the surface to degas? Presumably that would require an increase in CO2 in surface water and that concentration would determine the atmospheric concentration as the capacity of the ocean to absorb CO2 has not diminished.

Trust you can see the broad brush of what I am trying to say here.

Welcome back

Hi Peter, welcome back. So you acknowledge that ocean temperatures are increasing - which is progress - but you want to attribute increasing atmospheric CO2 to degassing.

Hmm. Then why is ocean acidity also rising? And why would the carbon isotopic composition of the added atmospheric CO2 indicate it was sourced from fossil fuels rather than the ocean? [Abridged]


The explanation there is clear, but no different from the real science blog by Mann and associates.

Yes, the explanation is fine up to the point where CO2 takes over. The evidence for this does not exist - doubling CO2 can only add a degree or so.

The real debate is the feedback from water, and most evidence on that points to a negative feedback from water. As does the fact that the Earth's climate has been stable for the past half billion years.

A positive feedback gives an unstable climate, and there is no historical evidence of that despite much higher CO2 and warmer temperatures in the past, including all the previous interglacials.

But then the explanation stops, so the temperature rises and then starts to fall, and 1000 years later the CO2 starts to fall. With the present interglacial it was more of a 8000 year levelling off, so what caused that? No wonder the explanation stops.

Why not attribute all the increase temperature to Milankovitch and the CO2 to degassing? Much simpler.

Peer review is skepticism in action

Rob makes an excellent point concerning peer review. The public may not realise that a majority of scientific manuscripts are initially rejected during the peer review process. One negative review (out of two or three) is often sufficient for a manuscript to be rejected for most of the better journals. To get a manuscript published in the top journals, Nature and Science, usually all the reviews need to be glowing.

This is the reason that scientists sometimes become frustrated when research published in the top peer-reviewed journals is ignored in preference to unreviewed material from websites. There is simply no comparison in terms of quality.

Ignorance of peer reivew

Calvin, have you ever written and received comments on a peer reviewed scientific paper? "You then have the choice of which review suits your point" ?? No editor I have experience with would accept a paper if I chose to respond only to the most positive review. Please let me know which journal you are referring to.

Explanation of the CO2-temperature lag

There is an excellent, concise and not excessively technical discussion of the observed lag of CO2 and temperature over the last several glacial-interglacial cycles that has just been posted at skepticalscience.com (go to this link). It is all based on the peer-reviewed scientific literature with weblinks to the relevant articles, most of which are freely available as PDF downloads.

Song remains

The complexity of forecasting climatic conditions, is not for the fainthearted. When the Earth has 70% water and 30% land on which a handful of people live who are not 100% involved in industrialisation it is very difficult to comprehend, that scientists here in Dunedin and elsewhere, can predict what the weather conditions are going to be. If we do not believe them, in spite of all the graphs produced by their computer programmers and the weather is consistently out of alignment with their predictions, we are then told we are nay sayers and if we dare suggest they are barking up the wrong tree, and indicate there are sufficient reasons for it, we are spreading falsehoods. Clearly the proof of the pudding etc. as we have had some of the coldest temperatures experienced since 1981. This however, is laid squarely at the feet of AGW and therefore we are not convinced nor will we ever be. Weather is on nature's side and this notion that we can influence the weather to a large degree, is not credible. To keep banging on about this subject with peer reviews is not convincing either. Good luck Peter with your tenacity, but there will be no solution to this debate. Wrap up warmly as the summer is hard to detect.

Once more, with feeling

Peter, in contrast to comments from Mike and myself, much of what you say simply cannot be backed up. And some of it is plainly false, as Mike demonstrated in the Arctic Ice thread with your claim of data being unavailable.
In my post above, I provided links to back up all of my statements - it is transparent. You, on the other hand, make claims like:
"...the support of many institutions for AGW comes from their committees, often without any reference to their membership and often for political/financial reasons."
You have no evidence to support this - it is pure conjecture, and it is defamatory. Being elected to an organisation like the National Academy of Sciences is a prestigious honour, the result of years invested in a successful scientific career, and you would accuse these scientists of risking their reputation and that of the NAS by letting political agenda outweigh consideration of evidence? Frankly I think this shows your desperation.
The same goes for your attacks on the credibility of Michael Mann - you give nothing to back them up. On the other hand, my evidence that Roy Spencer may not be the best source for unbiased scientific appraisal comes straight from the horse's mouth - not "quoting from realclimate" as you claim. Go on, follow my links to check. And yes, I fully understand what you're saying about oceans and CO2, but Spencer was proposing that the current rise in atmospheric CO2 was from the oceans and not from us burning fossil fuels. This is preposterous.
I agree peer review is not everything - mistakes get through, absolutely, and no single paper should be given undue weight. The Lindzen & Choi paper illustrates my point nicely. You make it clear above that you do not understand it in sufficient detail (nor do I), so you would be irresponsible and wrong to go trumpeting it around as proof that climate models are in error, or "the death knell for the alarmist brigade". But this is exactly what you did, in several instances. Why didn't you wait to see what happened post publication before making bold claims, as you suggest above that one ought to?
Re: Watts' survey. Did you read the report that I linked to? It shows that if only the 70 stations that were identified as "good or best" by Watts' survey were used to reconstruct US average temperature, it is virtually no different to the reconstruction using all stations. There is therefore no suggestion of a bias.
I think I'm done arguing with you now, I'm sure there are more valuable ways to spend my time. I'll post a reply to your "rebuttal" of my opinion piece - I initially didn't bother because I didn't think it warranted one.

Open or closed?


Your claim that climate scientists at NOAA, NASA, CRU, and NIWA form a "tight circle" implying nefarious intent makes for quite the global conspiracy theory. Convenient too. This way you can ignore all the multiple lines of evidence they and coworkers have compiled and published in peer-reviewed scientific journals (including the most prestigious in all of science, Nature and Science) in support of anthropogenic CO2-driven global change. You then remind us that science is about evidence - which of course it is - but apparently not when it is overwhelming and counter to the misinformation (and worse) bandied about the contrarian blogosphere. You go onto to impung the integrity of virtually every national science academy and the many independent professional scientific societies that have voiced support for the work and conclusions of their fellow scientists in the face of such unreasoned, and increasingly personal attacks. And all this while maintaining an "open" mind?

One more last time

Paul; I rest my case.

One last time

I have to agree with you on one point Calvin, it's clear there will be no resolution.

Contrary to what you say, the "simple view" that the MWP was warmer than now because of evidence from Greenland has been discussed ad nauseum. If we have been dismissive, it is because this view is indeed too simplistic - you fail to understand the difference between regional and global phenomena, and you dismiss more comprehensive and robust evidence in favour of anecdote.

You and Peter's disdain towards peer review is simply ridiculous - this is how science has progressed remarkably for the last 100 years. What do you suggest instead, a system where a layman's appraisal holds more weight than that of an expert who truly understands the complexity of the analysis? Get real.

The "put downs" have been going both ways so don't act as if your hands are clean.

One last point (this is the last time I will reply to you) - for all its flaws, the NZ ETS is revenue neutral, so there goes your argument that this is a cash-grabbing scheme by governments.

Ho ho ho indeed

I have taken time out over the break to ponder the whole nature of the two threads "Arctic Ice" and "Global Warming" and come to the conclusion that there will be no resolution. From a layman's position I have been disappointed by the attitude of some "scientists" towards any and all arguments at variance with their views.The failure in my case, is their unwillingness to discuss the simple view that if the current climate is warmer than during the MWP, why can't you have a pastoral industry in Greenland again. Seems a simple enough question.
Peter Foster has carried the torch valiantly for the "deniers" with some extremely cogent arguments. Result, constant put down and banging on about peer reviews. What is a peer review? Simply an overview of work submitted by fellow scientists. You then have the choice of which review suits your point-assuming there is any- not the be all and end all I wouldn't have thought. To me it distills down to an argument over whether there is warming or not. If so, whether it is due to natural progression since the "Little Ice Age" peaked around 1400AD or whether it is due to human activity.
There seems to be a school of thought which favours the human influence-AGW- which has captured the politicians who in turn see an opportunity to generate revenue. Unfortunately, NZ seems to have been caught up in this, possibly due in part to the Wratt/NIWA faction, aided and abetted by various local scientists. Hence our Govt jumping the gun with its emissions trading scheme.The recent Copenhagen debacle suggests that there is a long way to go before any consensus is arrived at on the political front. Probably a good thing too.
All in all, at lot of emotive talk and entrenchment of positions which may well in the end, prove to be just no more than a lot of hot air contributing to the problem under discussion.

Showing off the wares


The National Post of Canada - a haven for contrarian columnists - you've got to be kidding! This continuing exchange is going nowhere. You trot out some item of misinformation from the anti-AGW blogosphere or media and I counter it with evidence from the peer-reviewed scientific literature. For example, where did you get the idea that the stolen CRU emails were the work of a inside "whistleblower"? None of the institutional investigations into the matter have been concluded. Of course, this would never stop your network of anti-AGW bloggers from trying to hide the inconvenient truth that the emails were obtained illegally.

Your mind may be set on the issue of anthropogenic CO2-driven global change, but I expect others will note the difference in the quality of supporting information we bring to the discussion.

Happy New Year

Paul, with respect to your opinion piece, if you go to your article in the online edition you will find my rebuttal with references there. Further peer reviewed papers on each of the issues can be found under various headings in the reference to 500 peer reviewed papers opposing AGW.
As for predictions from the world's leading scientific institutions. Firstly science is about evidence, it is not determined by committees. Secondly, the support of many institutions for AGW comes from their committees, often without any reference to their membership and often for political/financial reasons.
Thirdly,Wratt and NIWA hardly constitute a leading institution in the world scheme of things. Re Watt's surface station.org findings. 89% of stations are seriously compromised by up to 5°C and this has no effect the mean temperature? The problem is in the data processing. Neither you nor I nor anyone else outside the tight NOAA, NASA or CRU (or NIWA) circle know how that data is processed. What we do know is that many scientists around the world object to how their data is handled, as their own analysis does not match the curves claimed for them by CRU.
Until the raw data and processing are made available for other scientists to analyse then reliance on anything from GISS CRU or NASA or NIWA is a matter of trust, or should we say blind faith, not science.
Re Dr Spencer instead of quoting from realclimate you should try reading his technical blogs. You might find a different person from what you have been lead to believe.
Re CO2 from oceans. Changes in CO2 have followed temperature in every interglacial with a lag of about 800 years. This is a logical consequence of the solubility of CO2 and the time taken for deep colder waters to warm.
Re Lindzen & Choi. As a peer reviewed paper you should accept that and recognise that the evidence presented shows the assumptions used in the models to be wrong. Therefore the conclusions of the models are wrong. Peer review is everything to you and Mike, it is not, the more important process is what happens post publication. Take cold fusion for example. On the other hand, I read Lindzen & Choi which at face value looks pretty sound, but then I read an analysis by Spencer which raises some questions.
So I will keep an open mind on the issue.

You have not shown anything

You have not shown anything of the kind.  You should read this article from the National Post. The whistle blower who released the emails deserves praise from all scientists for exposing behaviour that could do great damage to the credibility of all scientists. No physicist or chemist would give second glance at a paper whose findings could not be replicated, but in the funny world of climate "science" it is accepted.

Ho ho ho

I'd like another word myself actually. Apologies for the tardiness; busy times.

Discussion has been all over the show in this and the “Arctic Ice” thread. I'm just writing one reply here.

I'll start with your last reply to me, Peter (downpage). Firstly, regarding my article, I wasn't aware that predictions from the world's leading scientific institutions (that's 5 links there) are now in fact classified as “inaccurate green rhetoric”. Excuse me. Please, I am eager to learn about any inaccuracies more specifically – do tell.

While we're speaking of inaccuracies, let's examine one of your big claims. Regarding Anthony Watts' surface station survey, you said:
“To determine exactly (if that is possible) the extent to which the USHCN network data has been compromised would take a lot of research and need a peer reviewed publication to allow others to verify, but it does not take that to recognise that there is a significant problem which would result in inflated global land temperature values.”
Sure, or you could actually look at the response from NCDC, here. Read the section “What can we say about poor station exposure and its impact on national temperature trends?”. Does it still appear a significant problem to you?

As I and others have said, you aren't behaving very much like a sceptic. You link to a page of peer-reviewed papers that “contest” my article. Really? You've read every one? Then you attack the credibility of Michael Mann, but offer Roy Spencer's blog as your first port of call for “sound information”. The same Dr Spencer who disputes evolution in favour of intelligent design? The same Dr Spencer who has actually tried to put forward the argument that the increase in atmospheric CO2 is from the oceans, rather than human intervention? (Is he aware that the oceans are acidifying due to absorbed CO2?!) The same Dr Spencer who said:
“Once the government gains control over energy decisions, do we really think they will relinquish it after manmade global warming is realized to be a false alarm? It has been said that whoever controls energy, controls life. Right now, the free market (which means you) controls those decisions. Do we need to remind ourselves how well things went in the former Soviet Union when the bureaucrats made the economic decisions, rather than letting the collective will of the people, expressed though a free market, govern the economy?”
You don't need to go the trouble of stealing his emails to get a hint of political motivation. You might say that the above speaks for itself. Why, Peter, do you hold Spencer's views as any more sound than the majority of the climate science community?

As for accusing me of a change of tune; there wasn't one. I just thought it was about time for a key change. I stand by everything I've previously written here – as far as I know it's all based on solid evidence from very credible sources (links above). I was simply admitting that they (and hence I) could be wrong – I can't rule that out. I note you have yet to follow suit.

However, I also note that regarding the Lindzen & Choi paper, in your public submission on National's amendments to the ETS in October, you wrote, “The definitive evidence that shows that CO2 is not responsible for climate change was published on 26 August 2009 in a paper by Lindzen & Choi... This paper is the death knell for the alarmist brigade.” But now you say: “For instance, Lindzen & Choi's paper at face should be the one to bring down the house, but Roy Spenser (I presume he needs no introduction) has queried the validity of that...” Quite the change of tune there! Are you willing to admit that you jumped the gun on this one? Do you then acknowledge the possibility that the validity of your other evidence is suspect too?

I happen to think it far more likely that the small clique of people you've mentioned are the ones who have it wrong, rather than the extensive list of respected science academies and societies listed here. You disagree. I can see nothing is likely to change that, and you're entitled to that belief. But I do take issue when you, after a couple of years of dabbling, feel you have the authority to publicly cast doubt over the considered judgment of all the world's leading scientific institutions. You may not have to worry about being around to experience the effects if the almighty gamble you are proposing goes against you, but I do. Perhaps this has something to do with why you are more amenable to the reckless, selfish approach.

A final word?


You say that responses to your posts do not deal with the science, but most deal with the core issue - the inaccuracy of your views of the science. Others and I have repeatedly shown that most of your claims (and those of the blogosphere you trust so thoroughly) are not supported by the peer-reviewed scientific literature - the only credible source of information on the subject. When confronted with this evidence, you sling around accusations of grand conspiracies amongst the scientists involved.

The only conspiracy involved is that by a few who will do anything to discredit the research that has contributed to the present scientific understanding of anthropogenic CO2-driven global change. This includes theft and distribution of personal communications to make personal attacks on the reputations of scientists who have done the research. It means misrepresenting published work by inclusion in various lists of anti-AGW research - even when the authors protest that their results are being taken out of context. Are you are proud of such actions? Do you view them as necessary for the "good fight" against "AGW fanaticism"?

Prof Keith Hunter puts these matters into proper perspective in his interview by John Gibb in the December 28 ODT.


Merry Xmas

I have made reference before both to the interference in the peer review process by the Hockey team and to the Russian rejection of HadCTU’s manipulation of their data, (and no, I do not read Russian but I have read a google translation, however some readers would not accept a blog that provides a translations so I gave you the original). Now we can see here, one of the papers that was rejected by Jones (because it criticised CRU). Other reviewers have stated that the paper should have been published. Two of the authors of a Douglas Pearson Christy and Singer paper have supplied another example of interference in the peer review process by the team. In addition to this sort of interference the team have also peer reviewed each other with the result that papers that should have been be rejected eg Mann’s hockey stick and the Wahl & Ammann paper, being published and go on to form the basis of the climate hysteria. And then we have this from Phil Jones “The other paper by MM is just garbage …I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin [Trenberth] and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is !” Great stuff - straight from the horse's mouth. To read a summary of this you might look at this in the Wall Street Journal by Patrick Michaels.

There is a theme to many of the responses to my article, few of them have to do with the science. They can be catagorised as follows
1. attempts to discredit the author
2. attempt to challenge the sources of information used.
3. appeals to authority “I am a scientist” or “NAS report”. Some others contributing here are also scientists I think, and the NAS was subject to biased membership and superceded by later debunking of papers it relied on.
4. when given 90 odd peer reviewed papers on MWP they are all rejected because one of the people involved in compiling the list once worked for a coal company.
5. When given a list of 500 peer reviewed papers they were all rejected because a couple of links did not go directly to the paper. Then all rejected again because by Mike’s definition some of these were not peer reviewed journals. (shades of Jones here)
6. Refusal to consider information unless it has been peer reviewed, regardless of its simplicity or the limitations of peer review.

Science is built firstly on observation and measurement. Every year 10 student can calculate the circumference of the earth from the data of Eratosthenes. It does not take a peer reviewed publication to understand what he did and neither that work, or the Principia, were peer reviewed, but both are accepted by the scientific community. Peer review is a part of the process and while it has an important place in science it also has to be recognised that in climate research, peer review has been compromised and politicised. But Mike and others go much further by rejecting all data and observations, unless they appear in a peer reviewed publication. 

 Now on Greenland Mike, I would like you to live there for 5 years as the Nordic farmers lived, try growing the same crops and looking after the sheep as they did. In your holidays you could try growing citrus trees and grapes on the Scottish border, or try growing grapes at 780m in Germany. Do that and I will believe that the present is as warm as the MWP was. P.S. Just to hand from the Journal of Climate 22, 4029-4049, synopsis available here. Guess what - Greenland was warmer the 1930’s. On that note I think it is time to wrap up this thread and to wish you all a Merry Xmas and hope you enjoy the interglacial while it lasts.

The song remains in Russian

The technical report you have provided a link to is in Russian. Are you going to tell us you read that one too?

A research plan for Greenland


I would love to go to Greenland to do some research - there are great rocks on both coasts. But before I go, I suggest we agree on a set of measurements that I should undertake that will demonstrate to our mutual satisfaction whether or not global temperatures were warmer during the MWP than now. Any suggestions?