Saturday, December 12, 2009

Can Someone Tell Me Why These Graphs Are Wrong?



Hattip: Plato Says


Question: Could any scientists out there tell me why the graphs in this presentation are wrong? Beacause they appear to show that the current period of global warming is but nothing to that which occurred in mediaeval times, or 10,000 years ago.

I'm genuinely interested.

55 comments:

Tony said...

Good point. Have a look at this:

http://www.accuweather.com/ukie/bastardi-europe-blog.asp?partner=accuweather

boggartblog said...

I can't tell you why the graphs are wrong but the article linked later will tell you a lot about what is really going on.

Corporate Malfeasance, Conflicts of interest, Al Gore exposed and much more, all AGW life is there in shocking detail. Not really, I've just cancelled my order for The Guardian and am about to return to tabloid land. At least the gutter press are not patronising in the way they tell me what to think.

The article is interesting though.

Copenhagen and the stink of corruption

Tom said...

Must be from all the heat generated by crucifictions back then.

FireForce said...

After the Berlin wall came down the left needed something else to get on with, so the new red is green, it is just a way to put our taxes up and to control the people.
brown called some of us flat earthers, well when this lot are shown to be wrong will he apologise for his remarks?
Some hope!

Unity said...

Because the MWP was a regional not a global phenomenon and it the regional temperatures for the Northern hemisphere that appear on those graphs.

http://www.skepticalscience.com/medieval-warm-period.htm

View from the Solent said...

Answer. They're not.

(although I might not fall into your definition of scientist. I do maths with a side order of theoretical physics)

Johnny Norfolk said...

Iain they cannot answer this as they do not know. They can predict the future( they think) but cannot give any reasons why this actually happened.

Its the climate change scam.

Hawkeye said...

I'm not a scientist by career, but I did read Physics & Applied Maths at University.

Those graphs are illustrating what those of us with a scientific bent (and no anti-capitalist, left-wing agenda) have been saying for years - that there is climate change, there always has been climate change and there always will be climate change.

It makes little difference whether mankind contributes to it or not.

Colin said...

Well spotted, Iain.

please see my post on Blair and Iraq.

If you happen to bump into Dave, tell him not to hitch his horses to the AGW bandwagon, just yet.

Martin said...

Because the BBC says its man made global warming. Now shut up and pay up.

Mike Law said...

There were no taxes in it then.

Plato said...

Unity - would you point me to the evidence that the MWP is local? [from my knowledge it covers Greenland/Northern Europe which is a huge land mass]

I have only heard this argument from those who believe in AGW but have seen no data for it so far.

Many thanks

rlawson said...

In fact if you a few minutes to spare take a look at this presentation from a scientist at CERN in Switzerland.

It's the most compelling argumaent as to why they are wasting their time in Hopenhagen.

Alex said...

The MWP graphs are "wrong" because they show the warming in one part of the planet, while other parts were cooler than at the present day.

All this talk of hockey sticks and mediaeval warming periods is largely irrelevant because the issue is whether fossil fuels and other modern man-made carbon emissions make the planet warmer.

What happened prior to 1750 is largely irrelevant in terms of "proving" man-made global warming although it might provide some insights into what really happens if the AGW theory is disproven.

rlawson said...

sorry forgot the link!

http://seekingalpha.com/article/175641-climategate-revolt-of-the-physicists

cassandra said...

Now that is a graph you will never ever see on the BBC in a million years.
You have links with the beast(BBC) Iain, can you show that to any beeboid you meet and watch them squirm?
Seriously though, the graphs of the Mann made hockey stick fraud and the IPCC and the CRU and the met office and GISS all show rigged graphs for good reason, if people actually knew how incredibly tiny the temperature variation signal is when compared to tens of thousands of years worth of data then there would be an uproar.
When you next meet a Tory AAM cultist show them the graph please and watch the reaction.

Tachybaptus said...

After six decades staggering about on an increasingly wonky planet, all I can say is this.

Everyone presenting him or herself as an 'expert', everyone speaking on behalf of any organised body, everyone with something to gain from speaking, is not telling the truth. They are selling a line that will win them reputation, power, money. That is all.

This doesn't just apply to the Labour party or to the global warming faction. It applies just as much to the Conservatives, to the climate change deniers, to all bloggers, to me commenting on this blog. It applies to the priests of every religion that has ever been. It applies to most scientists, nominally objective but in reality hungry for kudos.

The warmists are now being attacked, and not before time. But by whom? People who have big wasteful German cars and small but carbonaceous dogs, and are trying to justify their behaviour in the face of public disapproval?

Can truth be told? Perhaps: maybe by chance, often at the risk of persecution. The only test of information that has any chance of being correct is the cui bono test. If you declare something that, if people believe you, will win you any kind of advantage whatever, your declaration should be utterly mistrusted. If it will win you nothing, and even attract hostility, it should be viewed a bit more sympathetically, though still with scepticism.

Believe no one, ever.

ChrisM said...

Unity
772 scientists from 458 separate institutions in 42 countries have written papers saying it was a world wide phenomenon you can access them all here http://co2science.org/

www.rockenergy.co.uk said...

I am not a scientist, Iain; I can not explain these graphs to your let alone my satisfaction; I dare say very few of your readers will be able to do so but in case there was even only one correct answer it will be very difficult to detect that very one in amongst the many expressions of frustration and short cuts and/or wild allegations of which lobby ribs off us poor souls. What is more, this one correct answer will not help solving our problem.

Two relatively simple figures to think about:

• You and I were born prior to approximately 5,000,000,000 other fellow men that survived until today; once we will have to go we will leave behind, God willing, probably close to 9,000,000,000 others including our children; all of them with the desire and the right to live as we have lived but better; consume, reproduce and waste.

• During the last 200 years we have managed to consume, or rather, as we have to learn the hard way now, waste approximately 50% of all fossil fuel deposits; deposits of C that were bagged deep down for 1,000,000s of years. What is left even deeper down we are programmed to blast in less than 600 months.

There might be some tolerance in these figures, but that is not essential on the scale of the problems. Common sense should tell us that our human mass together with our current technologies are very close to get their critical limits set.

I believe there are much more significant tasks which we need to face, more significant than 1 or 2 or even 3 or 4°C increase of global temperatures. By the way, you could have also asked the scientists among your readers why 2°C is seen as the magic answer to all our problems? Where is the proof that +2°C will be tolerable? I am just afraid the answer would be similar to the scientific idea of wood being carbon neutral or nuclear power plants even carbon free!

Unfortunately and in parallel we are running out of a number of essential resources that our human life on this planet is depending on; we go through a disastrous global economic crisis, which will not end by clicking “back to normal”; we are in the middle of a fight for labour; and the same for energy, which crisis we never believed would strike during our life time. Clean water is getting scarce on a global scale. Both, energy and water will lead into more wars, more waste of energy and resources, more pollution, more aggravation and more pressure; one of the devil’s circles that is on automatic growth.

To me Copenhagen, CO2, Global Warming, ice cores, etc. have become sparkling distractions; no need to address the real problems as long as panem et circensis are warming up.

No need to stop the devil.

C

James said...

The MWP was not "local" - it was well accepted as fact in the 90's and only when a few of these alarmists, who make their money peddling myth, said they needed to "get rid of the MWP" did they start cherry-picking data (down to specific trees) to attempt to prove that it didn't exist.

Phil said...

FFS What will it take for people to find (Professor) Bob Carter on You Tube? He has done a great job of knocking out the hokey stick and all that the BBC would have us believe.

Apparently, it's not enough that our children have got to pay off Brown's debts, they have to pay off his AGW scam as well!! Howard Beale in Network the the right idea.

The King of Wrong said...

Tachybaptus said "Believe no one, ever".

I'm not that cynical yet, but I can certainly appreciate the sentiment. I've always liked the way it was expressed in the intro narration to The Crimson Pirate, though: "Ask no questions. Believe only what you see. No, believe half of what you see."

Ruth@VS said...

Any student of history can tell you this - we know that it was warmer in the British Isles in the medieval period than it is now, also during the roman occupation. And when Skara Brae was inhabited, there were warm water species of fish offshore and a rather more clement weather pattern. Archaeology proves all this. The graphs are really interesting and show there is always natural climate change and we should take the long view. Unless the Romans developed the internal combustion engine and oil drilling machinery 200 years ago, maybe that's the explanation?

Phil said...

Interesting... I mention Bob C*rter in a letter to the DT and in a blog comment to Chris Booker adn I get modded. Seems the same thing happens here....unless, that is, I am impatient?

Whatever....look up Bob Car*er on You Tube....open your eyes.

www.rockenergy.co.uk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
smckane said...

You wanted the reason, well...

The temperature scales are incompatible with each other (notice how they are unlabelled? What the heck do they REALLY show?), the graphs neglect the error bars that go along with them (very small on current data, VERY large the further you go back).

You can't just graft data from one geographical area onto another - which is an issue when comparing Vostock to CET.

The answer you were looking for is that those graphs are incompatible – like putting petrol in a diesel engine or mixing oil and water – it doesn’t work unless you make it work, and the person chose those graphs so that it looks like chalk and cheese.

Can I strongly urge you to read the IPCC 5th report (or summary for policy makers seeing as the 5 full volumes come to some several thousand pages) at http://www.ipcc.ch – the conspiracy theories surrounding this are just as nonsensical as those surrounding the death of Diana or JFK. Examine things in the light of day and let the truth come out. The evidence that wiser men than both of us have considered suggests an anthropogenic cause, but there is no proof, and until it is more than suggest I don’t have the ‘truth’ of the ‘cause’. However, there are so many people on both sides of the argument that need to stop being pig headed and come at the data without preconceptions. Science is about disagreement and decisions from consensus and evidence.

I strongly agree that the climate change camp is dominated by people that won’t listen (GreenPeace and FoE for example). That is no excuse for you to join them!

Alcuin said...

Hi Iain,

I am not a climate scientist, I am a retired Engineer, with some knowledge of fluid dynamics and thermodynamics. I hold no brief for the BBC, who show their typical smugness in dealing with this subject.

I do not recognise any of your graphs as being what is described as the "hockey stick" case. As I understand it, the hockey stick is the difference between the predicted trend without the half trillion tons of carbon we have burnt, and that with.

But none of this gives a real insight into what is happening. The climate system is chaotic, non-linear and features both positive and negative feedback. As others have said, the climate has always changed. But the issue that overrides all others is the extreme sensitivity of the climate to external forcing, be it from solar insolation, volcanism or the activities of life.

The Ice Ages of the last 3 million years were caused by fractional changes in differential insolation of the northern hemisphere. The change in thermal insulation due to a 30% increase in CO2 causes a far greater net forcing than the Milankovic cycles that drove the ice ages.

Far more telling data is provided here by James Lovelock. Note in particular the characteristic of positive feedback in the bottom two graphs.

See also Wallace Broecker on BBC Hardtalk. Hope that helps.

Man in a Shed said...

Its the Sun we should be worried about, its not behaving as people expected right now - and I'm not talking about Wapping.

What we do know is that the same left wingers who used to campaign for us to surrender to the Soviet Union are now wanting us to move our industry to India and China ( which is what Copenhagen means ).

There are arguments to be had on all sides - but at least we have now established that the Science is not settled.

Even the BBC is now qualifying its description of scientists who support the warmist religion with just "most scientists", rather than the old "The Science is Settled" or "scientists agree that". So something has been achieved.

Nigel said...

Since the source of the graphs appears to be the NOAA, you might want to start here:
http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/globalwarming/medieval.html
There's a useful PDF here:
http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11676

Stephen Beynon said...

Considering how political the debate has become I tend to take the graphs and figures from both sides with a pinch of salt.

If we assume for a moment the graph above is entirely correct then it shows the planet has in the past got hot enough and cold enough to cause us huge problems and potentially wipe out millions or billions of people. The fact that the planet can do this entirely naturally does not make it a good idea for us to throw oil on the fire and encourage global warming.

I am not one of these people that would like to throw the world into energy poverty to reduce carbon emissions, but it seams to me that it makes sense to take affordable actions.

Doc said...

Unity--

MWP cannot be local according to this information.

This data is compiled from ice cores taken from Greenland and Antarctica. Both sources, Northern and Southern Hemisphere, confirm a warming period.

cassandra said...

Acuin,

You sound a reasonable person so why do you quote the wholly discredited james Lovelock and his equally disredited one sided positive feedback mechanisms based around badly designed computer models?
Positive feedbaks in a chaotic system cannot be predicted with computer models, leaving aside the negative feedback that throws out any predictions a computer fed with selective data.
There is no evidence that the 30% increase in atmospheric CO2 has had any impact on the 'thermal insulation' of the earth and BTW of that 30% quoted how much of that is natural CO2 and how much is man made?
Its time to leave the computer models behind and actually look at what is happening now and what has happened in the past, the GIGO computer models are in fact useless.

prj45 said...

As I undertand causes of previous warming/cooling periods are well understood (apart from the apparently localised medieval warm period and subsequent mini ice age which some suspect have an anthropomorphic element).

The present change does not fit in with such explanations, and the only one left is that man's activity is causing it.

Which is why it grates so when you hear a sceptic saying "earth has always cooled and warmed", well, er, yes it has, but the causes are quite well understood.

Makes sense to me, plant and animal life spent years terraforming the atmosphere by locking the high levels of carbon in it away in the ground. Now we're digging it all back up again and putting it back into the atmosphere; presumably this will return it to the state it was, incredibly hot and violent.

Twig said...

You should have listened to "Any Answers" on BBC Radio 4 yesterday.
The entire panel spoke as one with not a single dissenting voice to be heard.

They went on to ridicule the deniers in no uncertain terms.

Shame they didn't invite this chap to provide some balance.

aseeryl said...

To Unity etc.
Greenland = northern hemisphere
Antarctic = southern hemisphere

Therefore, previous warming / cooling cycles (i.e. climate change) limited to the locality of planet Earth!!

Not to be insulting, but even liberal arts graduates should understand logic, if not the science (which even the climate scientists, in unguarded moments, say they don't understand.

PS. There is an updated version of these graph sequences with scales etc.

Patrick said...

Does this graph contain 1998 ? (The hottest year on record ) It misses some important data!

Isnt more the point that mankind faces huge problems with a warming climate?

aseeryl said...

To Unity etc.
Greenland = northern hemisphere
Antarctic = southern hemisphere

Therefore, previous warming / cooling cycles (i.e. climate change) limited to the locality of planet Earth!!

Not to be insulting, but even liberal arts graduates should understand logic, if not the science (which even the climate scientists, in unguarded moments, say they don't understand.

PS there is an updated graph sequence at WUWT with scales etc.

thehoatzin said...

I'm amazed anyone has commented on the graphs as apparently all the data has been made up by evil lefty climatologists in some worldwide plot to steal your tax.

keep it up

Ricardo's Ghost said...

There is one rather claring 'error': the infamous hockey stick is usually taken to start around the 1950s. The data in the graphs presented above stops in 1900.

I'm also intrigued by the modelling assumptions that went into creating the temperature series. Alas I can't find it anywhere. Perhaps one of the guys here who's looked into it can point me in the right direction.

Finally, I'd point out that it really doesn't matter if the Earth has been 4-5 degrees hotter in the past or not. Indeed, this is not some amazing discovery - how do think dinosaurs survived in Dorset? The problem (as actually outlined in Stern Review) is our ability to cope with that change. Are we ready to see in excess of 1bn people being forced to emigrate around the world? I would take the climate change sceptics more seriously if they took their own arguments seriously and started talking about adaptation strategies for when we have the 'inevitable' change in our climate.

Twig said...

Well at least Lakshmi Mittal is doing his bit to help the cause.

LAKSHMI MITTAL, Britain’s richest man, stands to benefit from a £1 billion windfall from a European scheme to curb global warming.

That should help make us feel a little cooler then.

Jeremy said...

Claims that global average temperatures during Medieval times were warmer than present-day are based on a number of false premises that a) confuse past evidence of drought/precipitation with temperature evidence, b) fail to disinguish regional from global-scale temperature variations, and c) use the entire “20th century” to describe “modern” conditions , fail to differentiate between relatively cool early 20th century conditions and the anomalously warm late 20th century conditions.

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/werent-temperatures-warmer-during-the-medieval-warm-period-than-they-are-today/

The King of Wrong said...

@Jeremy: wow, RealClimate, huh?

You do know that blog was created by the same people whose tree-ring proxies have been thoroughly discredited by McIntyre, McKittrick, Wegman and the Climategate emails? That RealClimate's real purpose was mentioned (unflatteringly) in the emails? That Mann's latest work now shows a Medieval Warm Period? Which Chaucer and others wrote about and which was widely accepted until the paleoclimatology revisionists got involved?

I'm a little dubious about any authoritative claims that site makes...

econyonium said...

Iain why do you say they are "wrong"? They are actually graphs of data taken from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - a USA Federal Agency.

They show precisely that point you make, current warming in the 10000 year history of the Earth is not unusual.

The current hysteria is based on temperature rise since 1975 which it is claimed cannot be explained by natural variation therefore Man must have caused it. Well ignorance is not science - just because we cannot explain something does not make guessing valid.

However clearly it was natural variation which caused previous "unprecedented" warming, not coal fired power stations and 4x4s.

See the link below for explanation.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/09/hockey-stick-observed-in-noaa-ice-core-data/

Devil's Kitchen said...

Unity,

"Because the MWP was a regional not a global phenomenon and it the regional temperatures for the Northern hemisphere that appear on those graphs.

http://www.skepticalscience.com/medieval-warm-period.htm"


Seriously, mate: give it up. How the bloody hell can you quote that page when it is based on a Michael Mann et al. temperature reconstruction?

Have you not been paying attention at all?

Mann is discredited—utterly. Nothing that he has ever done can ever be relied upon again.

DK

DK

doctor baloney said...

This is utter nonsense: saying physicists believe that climate change is down to er....physics, is akin to saying that to a hammer everything is a nail.

The only people we should be listening to are qualified climatlogists who research and publish in this area. 97% of whom agree that climate change is primarily caused by man:

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/01/97_of_active_climatologists_ag.php

David said...

http://pages.science-skeptical.de/MWP/MedievalWarmPeriod.html

I would argue against those saying that the MWP was local and not global. Michael Mann has purportedly also published a paper about it. Remains to be seen how reliable that is, but Keith Briffa of Yamal tree fame also expressed his reservations about portraying the MWP as cooler than today.

The King of Wrong said...

@doctor baloney said
"The only people we should be listening to are qualified climatlogists who research and publish in this area."

No. That is exactly the same as claiming that in discussions of "alternative medicine" we must listen only to homeopaths about who publish about homeopathy, because what do physicists and chemists and doctors know about it?

The claims about CO2's effect on temperature rely on models of the physics involved and - like much of the statistical work from "climatologists" - have had little or no interaction with people who are experts in those areas.

Instead, we're told that physicists are irrelevant to the physics of temperature forcing - whatever that might be - because we have computer models from proper climatologists. Boltzmann would be spinning in his grave. So would Lord Kelvin, who tried to use global temperature to calculate the age of the earth.

Trying to corner-paint and exclude people based on their allegiance is a fractious arts-student trick. It has no place in science: claims stand or fall on their own merits, not who believes them.

If climatology is junk science, and there's some evidence to say that is the case, climatologists are never going to tell us that.

Calum said...

Iain, if you are still following the tedious tide of ignorant commentary at this point, have a swatch at an Economist blog post on a similar matter. And no, I am not going to bother even watching your video, much less explain it.

Dan Pangburn said...

A fairly simple model accurately predicts average global temperatures since 1895 with no need whatsoever to consider changes in the level of CO2 or any other greenhouse gas. The model, with an eye-opening graph, is presented in the October 16 pdf at http://climaterealists.com/index.php?tid=145&linkbox=true. This model predicted the ongoing temperature decline trend. None of the 20 or so models that the IPCC uses do.

The Argo float data shows that global warming stopped abruptly in about 2004 (graph on pp4 of http://www.oceanobs09.net/plenary/files/Wijffels_HeatContentTemperature_2Aa_vfinal.pdf )

Lindzen of MIT has presented measured data that shows that the IPCC’s GCMs are wrong at slide 4 at http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/originals/co2_report_july_09.pdf . Monckton (Margaret Thatcher’s science advisor) also shows IPCC to be wrong at slides 7, 8, and 9 of this presentation.

Since 2000 the atmospheric carbon dioxide level has increased 18.8% of the increase from 1800 to 2000. According to the average of the five reporting agencies (four since Climategate), the average global temperature has not changed much for several years and during the seven years from 2002 through 2008 the trend shows a DECREASE of 1.8°C/century. This SEPARATION between the increasing carbon dioxide level and not-increasing average global temperature is outside of the 'limits' of all of the predictions of the IPCC and 'consensus' of Climate Scientists. The separation has been increasing at an average rate of about 2% per year since 2000. It corroborates the lack of connection between atmospheric carbon dioxide increase and average global temperature. If you would like to check the data, a list and the links are given at the July 30, 6:52 PM post at http://www.sindark.com/2009/07/28/hfcs-and-climate-change/#comment-83310

The seasonally adjusted Arctic sea ice area has been increasing as shown by the graph that is updated daily at http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/seaice/extent/AMSRE_Sea_Ice_Extent.png .

And now Climategate has shown that some of the advocates of AGW have at best misled the public by suppressing data.

Femme de Resistance said...

Since when has climate change become a scientific issue? And when has the fundamental science become in doubt?

When I was doing my PhD, there was not one scientist in doubt about the facts. Skeptics are still a minority - among scientists.

However, they appear to be 50% of politically active people of a particular persuasion who don't know anything about the science. Funny that...

I have not a clue what the graph shows because I haven't looked at it. However, it's doubtless very interesting or conclusive.

Jeff said...

To answer your question, what's wrong with the graphs is that they only include data up to 1900. They've left out over a century of warming. The temperature in Greenland, for instance, is about 3 degrees F warmer now than it was in 1900.

ChrisM said...

Jeff said
"The temperature in Greenland, for instance, is about 3 degrees F warmer now than it was in 1900."
Actually that's not true there have been many studies you can find some here
http://ff.org/centers/csspp/library/co2weekly/2005-09-15/trends.htm

occam said...

Most people believe what those in "authority" tell them.
Its an easy trap to fall in.
Why should they lie to me people think?
What axe do they have to grind?
Three recent examples should shake the public out of this mindset!
1. Weapons of mass destruction in Iraq exist and can be made operational in 45minutes -proved totally false.
2. Credit rating agencies in USA gave AAA ratings to mortgage backed rubbish and caused the present global financial crisis.
3. Global warming alarmists have exaggerated the climate record and falsified their data to fit in with their alarmist model.
The alarmists do not want any rational evaluation of their conclusions and the recent release of the e-mails from the CRU expose a process that has no resemblance to the scientific method.

occam said...

Most people believe what those in "authority" tell them.
Its an easy trap to fall in.
Why should they lie to me people think?
What axe do they have to grind?
Three recent examples should shake the public out of this mindset!
1. Weapons of mass destruction in Iraq exist and can be made operational in 45minutes -proved totally false.
2. Credit rating agencies in USA gave AAA ratings to mortgage backed rubbish and caused the present global financial crisis.
3. Global warming alarmists have exaggerated the climate record and falsified their data to fit in with their alarmist model.
The alarmists do not want any rational evaluation of their conclusions and the recent release of the e-mails from the CRU expose a process that has no resemblance to the scientific method.

Peter.Bridge2 said...

I think FAQ 6.2 covers it (if anybody is interested)

http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/faq-6-2.html

Temperature is a more difficult variable to reconstruct than CO2 (a globally well-mixed gas), as it does not have the same value all over the globe, so that a single record (e.g., an ice core) is only of limited value. Local temperature fluctuations, even those over just a few decades, can be several degrees celsius, which is larger than the global warming signal of the past century of about 0.7°C.