Peer Review Falters at the Altar of Conviction

IT is perhaps easier to build the Great Wall of China than to convince a global warming devotee to reconsider their mistaken faith.

A man with a conviction is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point. So wrote, American social psychologist Leon Festinger in 1956.Bob on the wall

The human brain often struggles to discern fact from fiction, and even the cleverest scientist is susceptible to their own convictions. So if modern climate science is to provide a better understanding of how the dynamic, real-world forces that create weather and climate operate, rather than simply supporting the popular theory of dangerous global warming, then some discipline will be required.

In particular the objective peer review of articles becomes critically important.

Given recent criticisms of Professor Bob Carter following the publication of his new co-authored book ‘Taxing Air’, it is worth revisiting the prior treatment that he and his colleagues John McLean and Chris de Freitas received in 2009 at the hands of peer review by the mainstream climate science community.

In July 2009 Carter was a junior author on a paper in the peer-reviewed Journal of Geophysical Research (JGR). The paper, by McLean, de Freitas and Carter (hereafter, MDC), compared global atmospheric temperature since 1958 with variations in the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) climatic framework [1].

The MDC analysis supported earlier research that demonstrates a close link between these factors, and indicated that a large portion of the variability in global temperature is explained by ENSO variation, thus leaving little room for a substantial human influence on temperature.

In November 2009, a newly appointed, replacement JGR editor informed Carter and co-authors that a group of scientists led by Grant Foster had submitted a critique of the MDC paper for publication in JGR. Carter et al. were invited to write a response, which they did, submitting it to JGR on January 14, 2010.

Extraordinarily, the MDC reply, which entirely rebutted the mistaken criticisms of Foster et al., was never published by JGR!

Following the slightly later release of thousands of documents and emails stolen from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in late 2009 (the Climategate affair), it became possible to understand what had happened behind the scenes that led to this malfeasant result.

The Climategate emails revealed that a referee of the Forster et al. critique considered the purported criticism of Carter et al. to be akin to a “blog diatribe” and that, despite many reservations from other climate scientists involved, the criticism of MDC contained both wrong and irrelevant information.

The misinformed analysis was nevertheless rushed into print – to ensure that those who supported the theory of dangerous AGW had the last word in the ostensibly peer-reviewed literature on the important issue of ENSO variations and global temperatures.

Dissent is healthy, but the JGR critique of MDC was not only heavy on empty rhetoric, but also contained incorrect claims about the content of the paper and focused on peripheral issues rather than on the paper’s substantive scientific conclusions [2].

Normally such incorrect claims would have either been rejected for publication, or at the very least subjected to a corrective right of reply by the original MDC authors. Instead, publication of the critique proceeded and a right of reply was denied to MDC.

In other words, a leading professional journal, JGR, failed to provide those whose research they had originally seen fit to publish with a right of reply after other scientists with an AGW conviction agenda specifically set out to discredit the research.

In a detailed, factual exposition of the saga [3], Carter et al. explain that:

“The practice of editorial rejection of the authors’ response to criticism is unprecedented in our experience. It is surprising because it amounts to the editorial usurping of the right of authors to defend their paper and deprives readers from hearing all sides of a scientific discussion before they make up their own minds on an issue. It is declaring that the journal editor – or the reviewers to whom he defers – will decide if authors can defend papers that have already been positively reviewed and been published by that same journal. Such an attitude is the antithesis of productive scientific discussion.”

In a delicious irony, de Freitas and McLean have recently published an update of the 2009 MDC paper, in which they further substantiate and develop the understanding that ENSO exerts a strong influence over global temperature [4]. Thus despite the best efforts of Foster et al., the latest research literature now reflects what has all along been the reality – which is that once natural climatic variation is properly taken into account, it is difficult to discern any measurable human influence on global temperature whatsoever; also, that the ENSO oscillation is one of the most important natural influences that needs to be taken into account (and which is ignored by the climate GCMs deployed by IPCC-linked computer modelling groups).

In his book ‘The Climate Files’, Fred Pearce explains how Climategate raises many other deeply disturbing questions similar to those raised by the MDC affair about the way that contemporary, IPCC-related climate science is conducted.

The implications of prejudicial editing and refereeing in climate science are significant, because ultimately our best protection against the hazards of weather and climate will come from a more robust theory of climate than that offered by naïve belief in the power of human-related greenhouse forcing.

After which, turning climate theory into cost-effective policy surely requires that preparation for and adaptation to adverse climatic events be considered the best public option, accompanied by ensuring that the best possible warning/forecasting systems are in place.

To quote Richard P. Feynman: For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.


NIPCC editors Bob Carter, Craig Idso and Madhav Khandekar visiting the Great Wall of China on the occasion of the launch of a combined Chinese translation of the 2009 and 2011 NIPCC reports in Beijing.

Key References

1. J. D. McLean, C. R. de Freitas and R. M. Carter, “Influence of the Southern Oscillation on Tropospheric Tem-perature,” Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 114, No. D14, 2009. doi:10.1029/2008JD011637.

2. Foster, G., J. D. Annan, P. D. Jones, M. E. Mann, B. Mullan, J. Renwick, J. Salinger, G. A. Schmidt, K. E. Trenberth 2010. Comment on “Influence of the Southern Oscillation on tropospheric temperature” by J. D. McLean, C. R. de Freitas, and R. M. Carter, Journal of Geophysical Research Volume 115, Issue D9, 16 May 2010. DOI: 10.1029/2009JD012960.

3. J. D. McLean, C. R. de Freitas and R. M. Carter. Censorship at AGU: scientists denied the right of reply. SPPI Original Paper, March 30, 2010.

4. C.R. de Freitas and J.D. McLean, 2013. Update of the Chronology of Natural Signals in the Near-Surface Mean Global Temperature Record and the Southern Oscillation Index . International Journal of Geosciences, 2013, 4, 234-239. doi:10.4236/ijg.2013.41A020.


107 Responses to Peer Review Falters at the Altar of Conviction

  1. John Sayers July 31, 2013 at 6:05 pm #

    Thank you Jen. Very informative.

  2. Beth Cooper July 31, 2013 at 10:39 pm #

    Control the message, if necessary, shoot the messenger.
    Climategate emails, from their own mouths …

    On ENSO read Bob Tisdale’s book,
    Who Turned On The Heat?
    Beth the serf.

  3. Larry Fields August 1, 2013 at 4:56 am #

    Here’s a prescient quote from President Eisenhower:

    “Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades. In this revolution, research has become central, it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

    “Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers. The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present — and is gravely to be regarded.

    “Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”

  4. Neville August 1, 2013 at 9:06 am #

    I still believe there is a small AGW component to be found since (only just since 1960 or perhaps later) 1960, but this has never been anything like Luke’s CAGW.

    I hate cons, corruption and fraud and this CAGW scam fits the bill completely. Some scientists will today lie directly and many others lie by omission and that’s why they stopped publication of the MDC paper.

    Everyone now understands that if you remove ENSO from the equation there is little evidence of any CAGW at all.
    But don’t expect the fraudsters and liars to allow easier fair publication because they have everything to lose by allowing fair access and everything to gain by blocking these papers.

    They know they can’t allow full and fair debate because they will often fail against the scientists who employ the scientific method and actually check the past results of our real physical world and not silly incomplete climate models.
    These fraudsters are so blatantly obvious and they still persist in supporting their stupid incomplete models against the real world reality of the temp record from all of the sources.

    Of course the biggest corruption of this con is the insistence by these liars that we can somehow mitigate this con by taxing co2. This is easily proven to be rubbish but it’s swallowed whole by pollies from all sides, ( but perhaps not) most of the MSM and unfortunately a large percentage of the electorate.
    BTW good to read that Ike quote again Larry. He certainly nailed it, absolutely spot on.

  5. cohenite August 1, 2013 at 9:33 am #

    Good post Jennifer. The gerfuffle about MDC was on the basis of AGW reliance on there being no contribution to temperature trend from natural variability such as ENSO. The issue is looked at here:

    Natural variability and whether it contributes to temperature trend was discussed in the emails by the AGW establishment as discussed at points 4 and 5 here:

    At the end of the day it is AGW which will end up in the dustbin and MDC will have made a major contribution to that proper result.

  6. Debbie August 1, 2013 at 9:47 am #

    Timely post Jen,
    That quote of Feyman’s and the Eisenhower quote that Larry posted are both worth pondering.
    “. . . . for Nature cannot be fooled”
    “. . . . policy itself could become the captive of a scientific-technological elite”
    I recently read Nick Cater’s book. . . “The Lucky Culture” . . . It discusses these very same issues.
    It’s subtitle is. . . .
    “. . And The Rise Of An AUSTRALIAN RULING CLASS”

  7. Larry Fields August 1, 2013 at 10:28 am #

    Thanks, Neville and Debbie. Now I feel the need to uphold my reputation for abrasiveness.

    I’m as skeptical as anyone here about AGW. Since I’m a chemist, and don’t know squat about climatology, I do not feel entirely comfortable with multi-decade climate cycles either.

    Yes, in the intermediate term, climate history has been repeating itself. But is there an underlying non-FORTRAN mechanism at play here? Or have we fallen into the trap of reading metaphorical chicken entrails?

    I’m sure that the MDC paper had careful scholarship behind it. And I do think that the authors were treated in a very shabby fashion by a certain academic mafia.

    That said, I don’t feel that the paper qualifies as a stand-alone gotcha. I’m open to the possibility that they made an honest mistake.

  8. Debbie August 1, 2013 at 11:40 am #

    Fair comment Larry,
    It’s highly likely that not one of them is a stand alone ‘gotcha’. The sheer volume of work with inconsistent/variable/differing results would indicate that to me.
    I think we all need to remember however that there is no doubt the earth and its climate/weather would be different if there was no such species as humans. We do, we have and we will influence the world around us. That is entirely natural human behaviour. . . and on balance. . . it’s mostly a positive story. It’s only the misanthropic/alarmist/catastrophist contingent that is laying sacrifices at that ‘Altar of Conviction’.
    That said. . . It would also no doubt apply if we substituted any successful prolific species (like ants?) into that ‘no doubt’ sentence.
    Much of the arguing and time and money is being spent/wasted on a moot argument.
    As Neville often highlights. . . . the numbers simply don’t add up.

  9. jennifer Marohasy August 1, 2013 at 11:57 am #

    Hi Larry

    I welcome your increasing scepticism of publications by sceptics especially at this blog. It is good/healthy to be continually challenged.

    In the case of ENSO, it is really an inter-decadal, rather than multi-decadal cycles as you suggest. There is ample physical evidence that it is real and not about ‘chicken entrails’ in so much as there are measurable patterns reflected in changes in both pressure and temperature over the Pacific that repeat themselves. They significantly impact global temperatures in large part because the Pacific stretches almost half way around the globe.

    If you were interested in the physical nature of ENSO Bob Tisdale’s work is a good starting place in particular his e-book ‘Who Turned on the Heat’.

    The work of McLean, de Freitas and Carter in many ways is simply an extension of the work people like Tisdale have been doing for much longer. But unlike Tisdale, McLean et al. have managed to penetrated the peer reviewed literature.

  10. cohenite August 1, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

    AGW has been defeated by several “gotchas”; lists of these gotchas have appeared here and elsewhere. I still think the constant optical depth as found by Miskolczi in 2004 killed AGW stone dead, but there are many others notably the work on the lack of a THS, a crucial element of AGW.

    MDC’s paper has its place and their finding about natural variability being able to generate a trend is basically correct; otherwise before humans stank up the place according to AGW there would have been no change in climate and temperature if natural cycles were always symmetrical.

  11. Dion Giles August 1, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

    As a newcomer to this blog I welcome its deconstruction on scientific grounds of the frenetic CAGW scam. I abhor crazes and bum’s rushes and drum-beats, and CAGW is one of these writ large. Characteristic of the CAGW craze is the elitist view that the evidence to be heeded is a head count of its proponents, weighted for individual importance within the self-selected “scientific community” and/or for moralising fervour based on the much overworked “precautionary principle” (little boy cries “wolf” – better burn the forest down, just in case).

    The “wolf” cry consists of computer simulations extrapolated from a present and past, which contain evidence, into a future which contains none. Publicists, some of them scientists, some of them journalist-commentators, some of them enthusiastic young cheer squads full of uncritical certainty, fill in the emotional-blackmail details.

    However I do query the significance of correlations between temperature variation and ENSO variation rather than CO2 variation. Can it not be that CO2 governs temperature which in turn governs ENSO variation? Or that solar or cosmic radiation variation governs temperature variation which in turn governs ENSO variation or CO2 variation or both (carbon equilibria and CO2 solubility equilibria in the ocean being temperature-dependent)? Or should my word “governs” be “influences”?

    The only independent variable that we can influence to gain information is anthropogenic CO2, and even that can’t be manipulated at will, so all we can really do is maintain vigilance through comprehensive measurements, confining our certainties to those which rest incontrovertibly on available evidence, not computer-generated speculation or the moralising. evidence-free. misuse of the precautionary principle.

    A worthwhile field for _sociological_ research might be to seek a correlation between AGW conformity and scientific research grant availability.

  12. Robert August 1, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

    Gourmets of climate extremes and cycles could do worse than compare Eastern Oz in 1902 to the same region in 1950. Or you could compare 1974 with 1983. Take what may be the most “extreme” year of all. The complete failure of westerlies and the phenomenal moisture sucked onto the continent in what should have been the drier months of 1950 are supposed to have just happened…anecdotally! Yet if it happened now it would be hypercharged AGW. Our analytically minded experts would be breaking out in baby-talk about Frankenfloods and Megatroughs and Hypo-lows and…quick! More caffeine!

    I’m one of the skeptic wowsers who does not approve of the purloining and use of the Climategate emails. But I don’t need the emails. How is it possible to ignore such enormous and obvious revolutions in our climate, as we see from the Fed drought to the 1950s, or from the storms and drenchings of the 1970s to what followed in the next decades? Really. How was it ever possible to doubt the substance of the paper by McLean, de Freitas and Carter? What planet do you have to hide on not to know?

  13. Neville August 1, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

    It’s amazing what the general public doesn’t know about the lunatics, religious fanatics and stupid numbskulls who support this CAGW fraud.

    Earlier this year Morano interviewed a number of loonies trying to stop a pipeline being built. These crazy loons admit on camera that they would use any method to stop the pipeline, even eco terrorism.

    But hey that’s exactly what Hansen NASA’s top scientist recommended as well. Like blowing up dams and coal fired power stations etc, etc. Why, because of dangerous CAGW. These people are religious maniacs and yet one of their main leaders was the head man at NASA GISS for years.

  14. Larry Fields August 1, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

    Hi Jennifer,
    Please pardon the roundabout response. Many years ago, there was a particularly obnoxious TV advert in the USA. I don’t know if it ever found its way down to Australia.

    Two people were arguing.
    Person A: Certs is a candy mint.
    Person B: No, Certs is a breath mint.
    Unseen announcer: Stop, you’re both right.

    The inevitable Mad Magazine parody had the announcer saying:
    Stop, you’re both wrong. Certs is a laxative.

    Anyway, we needn’t qibble about whether ENSO is inter-decadal or multi-decadal. Yes, we can go from El Niño to La Niña in a geological eyeblink. On the other hand, EN-dominant periods can last decades. Ditto for LN-dominant periods. Therefore ENSO is a laxative. 🙂

    You also wrote:
    “I welcome your increasing scepticism of publications by sceptics especially at this blog.”

    Here’s where I’m coming from. I don’t live in an either-or universe. I don’t feel the need to get an “I love CO2” tattoo, or to agree with everything that all self-identified AGW skeptics say. I’m not the least bit insecure in my AGW skepticism.

    When it’s warranted, I feel perfectly comfortable in saying: A pox on both of your houses. If some interpret that as cussedness on my part, then so be it.

    Mathematicians have a quaint custom: If you can find one tiny counter-example, you can destroy a beautiful theorem, as well as everything that flows from that theorem. In 1908, Betrand Russell did just that. Here’s a link to the Wiki article on Russell’s Paradox.

    In this respect, scientists should be more like mathematicians. Ditto for public prosecutors.

    In the recent George Zimmerman trial, the Prosecution attempted an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink argument. And they managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. If they’d stuck to the most important points, the outcome would have been different. If you like, I’ll repost my comment from

    From a political perspective, we should put more emphasis on the strongest part of our case: AGW is a thoroughly falsified hypothesis. The predictions made by the GCMs are garbage. Therefore the hypothesis behind the fancy software is also garbage.

    If we don’t, the AGW True Believers will jump all over our weaker arguments, and label them as gotchas. At the same time, they’ll pretend that our bombproof arguments do not exist.

    On the other hand, we’re all boffins here. We’d quickly run out of stuff to talk about if we limited our AGW discussions to the gotchas. Maybe we’d spend more time talking about the real environmental problems, which have been eclipsed by the AGW scare campaign. Example: Jennifer’s recent post about Japanese whaling.

  15. BethCooper August 1, 2013 at 5:42 pm #


    I don’t approve of purloining private stuff either, but I consider ‘the team’ were
    being funded by the public purse and avoiding making their data public so I think
    ‘we’ had a right ter know.


  16. Robert August 1, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

    Beth, we toffs are very proper about things like mail and emails. Can’t be helped. Of course, I don’t approve of the team or of their witholding of data, but I have to admit I don’t care because I have never felt that the data matters a great deal. Nobody knows much about climate. Bob Carter knows he doesn’t know much…which makes him a scientist. Most of the others talk about “uncertainty” and “communication” when their real problem is that they just don’t know. For me, the scandal is Publish-or-Perish, a system whereby people aspire to sit about computing and word processing and conferencing when they should be tramping about getting weathered upon. Some knowledge of history wouldn’t hurt the bludgers either. I also wonder why people talk so much about “the planet” when that very large object, as opposed to its mere surface, is largely unknown and unvisited…and most of it is hot!


  17. Beth Cooper August 1, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

    Hafta admit yer’ve got class, ‘just’- a toff. I do agree, nachurally, they, them others
    should be trampin’ about gettin weathered upon’ and I’m all fer the long view
    that history can open up. Cloud towers can be so confined.

  18. cohenite August 1, 2013 at 6:44 pm #

    “I’m one of the skeptic wowsers who does not approve of the purloining and use of the Climategate emails.”


  19. jennifer August 1, 2013 at 7:10 pm #

    Welcome Dion Giles

    I noticed your post suggesting rather than correlating temperature with ENSO, I should be correlating ENSO with carbon dioxide.

    Perhaps the simplest way to test your reasoning on this – to test whether it is likely to prove more useful to correlation Co2 with ENSO – is to look at Co2 and temperature because this has so often been compared.

    For example here…–-“absence-of-correlation-between-temperature-changes-…-and-co2

    And you see the correlation is not that good over the shorter term.

    Of course much has been written about how in the geological record it appears that carbon dioxide mostly follows changes in temperature rather than preceding them.

    But notice that if you just consider the temperature of the ocean there is a good correlation…

    Indeed the carbon dioxide may be released from the warming ocean.

    I think the relationship is actually ENSO (created by changes in patterns of water circulation in the Pacific) changes sea surface temperatures which affects amount of carbon dioxide absorbed or released by the ocean.

  20. Robert August 1, 2013 at 7:23 pm #

    Cohers, my reasons are dead ordinary. Your emails within your business and among your colleagues are not for leaking. It’s how I feel. Maybe the police or other authorities are entitled to access in certain cases…but that’s as far as it goes. It’s not only ill bred to leak, but it’s got a touch of the commie informing culture to it.

    Really, I just don’t care because I’ve never doubted that climate alarmism is a stunt. Even the great founder of the CRU (first a coolist then a warmist) had to make dramatic diagnoses etc to justify expenditures, keep funders happy etc. I’d much rather scholars pottered away, learned a bit more each decade, and published as little as possible. Don’t take ’em to Rio or Cancun and tell ’em they’re sexy. They’re not.

  21. spangled drongo August 1, 2013 at 7:55 pm #

    Robert, I have to admire your generosity to allow our bureaucratic betters to instruct the common herd free of accountability while forcing that same herd to keep them in the style to which they wish to become accustomed.

    While they are required to be accountable, they never are and I feel that the climategate leaker simply did an Edward Snowden for us.

  22. cohenite August 1, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

    The emails indicate that the CRU scientists contravened laws:

    So, as well as a massive deceit and subversion of science the e-mailers also broke the law.

    The person who released the e-mails is covered by Whistle-blower legislation which is why the authorities have not pursued the matter; there was no offence.

    The e-mails clearly establish that AGW has no moral authority as well as no scientific validity.

  23. el gordo August 1, 2013 at 9:15 pm #

    Following up on cohenite’s lead to Miskolczi …

  24. Robert August 1, 2013 at 9:57 pm #

    I suppose it depends on how seriously you take climate science. I really believe there is no such thing, except in the sense that there was medical science before Semmelweis. I am that skeptical. There were fine surgeons and physicians around in all eras, but I wouldn’t call 18th century medical practices scientific. It doesn’t mean one should ignore all findings, or the tremendous work of people like Walker and Mantua…just that something like the CRU was bound to be dodgy. Lamb had the insurance industry on his back, like the early BOM had farmers on its back. Now the world’s biggest money scam is riding on institutions like the CRU. What do we expect? And these are lesser men than Hubert Lamb. They are shabby, bitchy, incestuous and probably have bent laws, but they are entitled to basic protections, like any business, office or legally constituted body. And remember that when you leak, you more often leak to sharks like Masry and Brokovich, or Guardian journalists maybe, which could be worse. Obviously, Brokovich and the Guardian would not want to expose the University emails…but they might want to expose those of a Bob Carter if they felt they could be read a certain way and without their proper context. (Remember Jonathan Holmes? Want him knowing your correspondence?)

    If you see someone’s emails and suspect laws have been broken you have to go to legal authorities. If you feel deeply enough to bypass the authorities and laws – whether you are Snowden or someone egging an abortion clinic – then it’s down to your conscience.

    Guys, I’m not defending the likes of Jones or the CRU, just your own right to talk amongst yourselves at work and say bad things or things which may seem more than just bad when viewed out of context.

  25. cohenite August 1, 2013 at 10:04 pm #

    Poor Miskolczi and Zagoni.

  26. Luke August 2, 2013 at 1:58 am #

    Jen’s projectionist puff-piece, replete with conspiracy theories, tin foil hats, and riddled with sceptic meme speak actually shows an excellent proof that peer review indeed works getting rid of rubbish (albeit sometimes not first time around).

    Jen’s defence just glides over the heart of the matter and astounding nobody has asked the simple question as to whether Foster et al are wrong. They’re not. And the rebuttal to their comment was obviously so poor as to not be worth printing.

    Has any seriously read the many science comments and reasons why the original paper received a roasting?

    Doing a smoke screens sook act as “it’s all a big conspiracy” is piss weak. Bad is bad.
    James Annan went as far as to say “This ridiculous paper has already been eviscerated by Tamino, RC, and mt, so I won’t waste too much time on it” and went to roast AGU editorial policy and review standards.

    Does ENSO affects global climate? – well I suspect climate science may just have known about that for some time (sarc). Tell us something we don’t know.

    As for IPCC models ignoring ENSO – WRONG ! and a 10 second google would have revealed Jen’s assertion to be baseless. Did anyone look? I am stunned everyone has just accepted this uncritically. It’s not a matter of opinion.

    As for Feynman (Jen check your spelling) INDEED “reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.” Precisely – could not agree more !

    As for the most basic analysis of the global ocean temperature data looking at ordination of data trends with no modelling – ENSO/IPO is clearly a secondary both powerful influence on climate but a strong centennial signal (from whatever causes) is clearly evident as the primary trend – it’s simply fundamental.

    If this is the level of sceptic science – I don’t think you want “reality must take precedence over public relations”.

    Unreal ! All uncritically accepted on this evidence based blog.

  27. spangled drongo August 2, 2013 at 7:51 am #

    So beautifully put Lukie.

    But you forgot this bit care of Michael Mann:

    “Proof is for mathematical theorems and alcoholic beverages. It’s not for science.”

    Consensus is wot counts.

  28. Luke August 2, 2013 at 7:58 am #

    Stay on topic.

  29. jennifer August 2, 2013 at 8:30 am #


    You make a good point regarding GCMs and ENSO, POAMA does try and produce an SOI forecast.

    But I’m not so sure about your defence of the process, or merits of Forster et al… Given my reluctance to be always clicking on your links (some of which are excellent, but one never really knows)… Can you please explain in plain english the merits of Forster et al’s rebuttal? What exactly was Forester’s problem with the original paper by Carter et al. published by JGR? In short which bit of science is in dispute?

  30. cohenite August 2, 2013 at 8:52 am #

    “Can you please explain in plain english the merits of Forster et al’s rebuttal?”

    Ha ha ha. Please stop, that’s too funny.

  31. Luke August 2, 2013 at 9:03 am #

    POAMA’s not really the point Jen – on IPCC try CMIP5 and El Nino as a google (for a start). Now you could attempt to argue about how good an job they’ve done but to suggest that there is no consideration of ENSO implies climate scientists are stupid. Indeed much on the work on ENSO and IPO has been done on people you’d call warmists. It’s not like there are two fields of physics.

    The John McLean RC Wiki link details the many “outraged” rebuttals of McLean et al at the time which I’ll come back to. I commend them to you – it’s not a Woolies catalogue.

    Additionally to say there’s something wrong with CRU, Mann and IPCC processes elsewhere is not a defence of a bad paper. Surely bad is bad. Without wishing to be overly insulting the paper would normally be listed with Archibald’s solar stuff on the giggle list. It’s regarded as that bad. Seriously. It’s not just sledging or a gratuitous slag off. Think gagging noises. Cohenite I’m sure will do his best to mount a withering defence.

    To say ENSO influences the Earth’s temperature – well I think warmists may know this!

    Additionally you should get the gist of Parker et al – just look at the EOF plots. It essentially tells you what the big trends in data are – IPO/ENSO is there but it ain’t number 1 !! It’s embroidery on the bigger theme. And Parker et al uses no land stations and isn’t really even an AGW paper. The simplicity of the data analysis is the issue.

  32. jennifer August 2, 2013 at 9:11 am #

    stay on topic.

    in plain english what was the point of Forster et al?

  33. Luke August 2, 2013 at 9:12 am #

    What’s wrong with the paper – the data are bandpassed filtered. The trend removed and then there is no trend ^#^!@^$#@^^ WOW ! The interannual variation which everyone knows about is left. It’s a stinker !

    Some unkind souls have even been so unkind to suggest that the whole job was a swiftie to get one into the literature. But that would be unkind and pandering to warmist conspiracy theories.

    I note the latest paper went the soft review route.

    So Jen – there is another view. Crap is crap. Rubbish is rubbish. Even if done by ya mates. There are no mates in science. Otherwise there is no moral high ground.

  34. Neville August 2, 2013 at 9:26 am #

    I’ll say it again, why you bother trying to respond to Luke’s nonsense is beyond me. He can’t even give a sensible response in plain english.

    What a pity one or more of the authors of the above paper can’t make a contribution to this post.

  35. jennifer August 2, 2013 at 9:27 am #

    Thanks Luke.

    But the english is not plain enough. You appear to be hiding behind technical jargon? What do you mean by “bandpassed filtered”? What do you mean by no trend? That is exactly what Carter et al. correctly concluded?

    Carter et al. conclude that, once ENSO is taken in to consideration, there is no significant global warming temperature trend.

    Are Forster et al. saying there was something wrong with their methodology? The entire methodology? What exactly?

    Is the conclusion of Carter et al. nevertheless correct?

  36. cohenite August 2, 2013 at 9:57 am #

    MDC’s fault, according to Foster and others, is they detrended data to isolate a trend; more specifically MDC removed all other possible contributions to trend except ENSO and then concluded that ENSO was the dominant determinant of trend.

    This is arguable. MCD assert they removed the longer and shorter trend factors to concentrate on the medium ENSO factor to establish whether there was a consistent lag with ENSO’s effect on trend. They established that and that is not controversial; these points, including Foster’s comment and the censorship of the MDC response to Foster, are discussed here:

    Of equal importance is MDC’s reference to a ‘break’ or step in the trend. They say:

    [32] Lean and Rind [2008] stated that anthropogenic
    warming is more pronounced between 45S and 50N and
    that no natural process can account for the overall warming
    trend in global surface temperature. We have shown here
    that ENSO and the 1976 Great Pacific Climate Shift can
    account for a large part of the overall warming and the
    temperature variation in tropical regions.

    However as David Stockwell notes:

    However, the assertion [about the step] comes down to Figure 4 where they identify that the mean of the SOI (and temperature) seems to change at 1976. This model is not identified rigorously with any analysis, but is stated as an observation in the text.

    MDC say:

    [30] For the 30 years prior to the 1976 shift (i.e., 1946–
    1975) the SOI averaged +1.93 but in the 30 years after 1976
    (i.e., 1977–2006) the average was 3.06, which represents
    a shift from a La Nin˜a inclination to an El Nin˜o inclination.
    The standard deviations for the two periods were 9.48 and
    10.40 on monthly SOI averages, and 6.56 and 6.35 on
    calendar year averages, which indicates consistent variation
    about a new average value.

    The step or break in 1976 is not controversial despite people like Foster not accepting it. Stockwell has described in it full:

    And the break has been exhaustively examined by McKitrick:

    This part of MDC has been critiqued by such people as Annan who says about MDC’s reasoning for a step:

    Let’s take a linear trend plus noise, y=at+e where t (time) runs from -T to T, and e is any additive noise with variance s2. The expected mean over the first half [-T,0] is -aT/2, and the mean over the second half is aT/2. The standard deviation of the first half is sqrt(a2T2/12 + s2), where these two contributions come from the linear trend and noise respectively. The standard deviation of the second half is, um, sqrt(a2T2/12 + s2). In other words, when the means of the first and second half of a time series differ, but the variability does not, this tells us precisely nothing about whether there was a step change or just a linear trend. Ooops.

    Annan has confused the form of the method with the values used by the method. “a” is not the same value.

    Finally luke reverts again to parker and his 3 EOF’s as being the standard for isolating trend factors over any period. Luke has been told before but let me say it again, Parker’s PCA will not pick up a step; it doesn’t do the job.

  37. Luke August 2, 2013 at 10:00 am #

    Are Forster et al. saying there was something wrong with their methodology? YES

    The trend is removed by artefact of the analysis !

    Worst sceptic paper ever. A legend in rubbish. A stats yuk !

    Jen you appear to have made an editorial post, cited the rebuttal, slagged off the rebuttal, speculated wildly on disconnected processes for shell support and still not READ the rebuttal.

    That’s NOT READ IT ! (And almost everyone else here)

    Go and read it and do the minimum duty of care to your readers.

    As for hiding Jen – you have laid so much sceptic-meme smoke here I found it hard to see the text.

  38. Luke August 2, 2013 at 10:05 am #

    Jen Cohenite is hiding behind jargon (sarc).

    His commentary is rot anyway – there’s a bloody major centennial trend – it’s funda-bloody-mental. 1976 break points – pullease. Go and get published somewhere serious Cohenite or just drop off. (Oh I forgot – you can’t due to the BIG conspiracy)

    Instead of a puff piece about the woes of the AGW/IPCC issues – why not specially dismantle Foster’s rebuttal and invite him to debate it.

  39. cohenite August 2, 2013 at 10:21 am #

    I’m not hiding behind jargon; Foster’s complaint was answered by MDC at the link I provided; read it; it’s pretty straightforward.

    Foster ties himself in knots often trying to be consistent with AGW.

    And I repeat PCA and EOF’s will not pick up a break; are you saying there is no break in 1976?

  40. Robert August 2, 2013 at 10:34 am #

    A trend for centennial trendoids. Just more guessing, of course, but at least tied to observation of stuff that has happened:

    It sure has gone down after 2004.

    But it sure did go up in the 1960s, didn’t it? More like, shot up in the 1960s.

    Shhhhh….The punters might misinterpret, and we are THAT close now to an ETS now. Just shut up, everybody!

    Shoosh. Mum’s the word.

  41. Luke August 2, 2013 at 10:59 am #

    No it’s not guessing its a mathematical analysis. I apologise on behalf of the data ah Cohers you mean the big shift delayed by AGW

  42. Debbie August 2, 2013 at 11:11 am #

    The big shift delayed by AGW?
    You seriously need to yank your head out of those projective models and those failing trend correlations.

    Good Grief!

    Is this perhaps grasping at straws?

    And this one pertains to an earlier post:

  43. cohenite August 2, 2013 at 11:26 am #

    “Cohers you mean the big shift delayed by AGW”

    I knew it. Meehl and his alternative universe with a delayed GPCS and ‘possession’ of ENSO and other major climatic forms; luke returning to his detritus. Meehl was discussed here:


    “Meehl states that the 1976 GPCS was delayed due to the effect of greenhouse gas levels; the shift should have happened about 15 years earlier if left to natural variation. So Meehl is saying the levels of CO2 were sufficient to interrupt a major oceanographic event, the partial cessation of the Eastern Pacific upwelling and all the consequent water movements AND to delay the advent of the +ve PDO by 15 years. A number of conclusions logically flow from this scenario;

    1 The delay of the phase shift means that the -ve PDO would have naturally been an extremely, unnatural even, short one; about 15 years.
    2 Therefore if left to natural process the 20thC would have had 2 long +ve PDOs and a very short -ve PDO in between. This combination would have produced a much higher temperature increase over the 20thC by virtue of there being a much greater +ve PDO domination.
    3 By lengthening the -ve PDO the extra CO2 has actually produced a COOLING effect!
    4 The 1997-1998 event is also strongly correlated with the reversal of the 1976 oceanographic process and is strongly correlated with another phase shift back to a -ve PDO.
    5 Now the Meehl concept can be either said to be a one off, only affecting the 1976 events, in which case the GHG effect is a stochastic one. If AGW has stochastic effect than this contradicts all the AGW theory up to date which says that CO2 has a gradualist effect on temperature with the ECS for a given level of CO2 only subject to a curiously uncertain heat storage or pipeline lag response.
    6 If CO2 increase [I’m using CO2 and GHGs and AGW interchangeably; anything else is hypocritical] is not stochastic then it must have had an input into the 1997-98 event.
    7 The 1997-98 event saw a probable phase shift from a +ve PDO to a -ve PDO. So the effect of CO2 has been to lengthen the mid 20thC -ve PDO and then to shorten the subsequent +ve PDO which is just over 20 years in length. BY shortening the +ve PDO and producing a phase shift to a -ve PDO the increased CO2 is again having a COOLING effect!
    8 It is important to concede that David’s statistical analysis does not preclude such a cooling role for CO2. But this cooling effect is based on structural breaks not a gradualist effect, so a certain level of CO2 will both lengthen a -ve PDO and shorten a +ve PDO to produce cooling. How versatile!

    In S-F there is a sub-genre called alternate universes [AU]; in these Hitler won, JFK wasn’t assassinated, the incredible Hulk was purple and CO2 could do anything asked of it. Meehl’s study is an archetypal AU scenario.

  44. Robert August 2, 2013 at 11:30 am #

    The data accepts your apologies and understands it needs to shoosh up till all the right rogues get their ETS to play with. I’ll just sit back and read the Courier-Mail:

    “By far the largest number of local glaciers in north-east Greenland had receded very greatly during recent decades, and it would not be exaggerating to say that these glaciers were nearing a catastrophe.”

    Ah, that’s better. Nice bit of centennial trending there. So glad I gave Branson the extra money last time I flew Virgin…wait…this paper is old…

    “The Courier-Mail Monday 6 May 1940”? What the…!

    Shoosh. Shoosh, I said. We are that close to an ETS you can almost taste it. Don’t spoil everything now.

  45. Jennifer Marohasy August 2, 2013 at 11:43 am #

    Luke, Cohenite

    So the argument comes down to the methodology used to determine the influence of ENSO on the global temperature trend?

    If we agree on this?

    Then the next step would be to have a look at ENSO and temperature trends – to get an idea as to whether Carter et al. might really have been just making it all up?

    Luke, Can you please email me the best chart that you know of that shows both temperature and ENSO against time (preferably as a jpeg)… Once received I will look to post it as a new blog post. YOu can also include a description of the chart if you like.

    So what I want is a visual representation of the rawest/realest possible data showing ENSO and global temperatures to get an idea of who may/may not have used an appropriate methodology to test the relationship mathematically.

  46. Beth Cooper August 2, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

    Well done luke @1.50am:

    Yer’ve really mastered the art of argument by abuse.
    Fine choice of dismissive adjectives … ‘puff’piece,
    ‘ridiculous ‘paper, ‘sook ‘ acts, ‘piss’ weak, and some
    well chosen connotative verbs, too, ‘riddled’ and I
    particularly like this one …’eviscerated.’

    Hafta’ say, Luke, while strong on the dismissiveness, yer
    opinion piece does seem ter be light on the argument side,
    ter use yer own well chosen phrases I’d say yer might call it
    a meme-speak puff piece.

    Beth the serf.

  47. cohenite August 2, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

    Well, bearing in mind PDO is the ENSO sum Spencer has a number of good graphs showing the relationship between PDO and temperature over the 20thC:

    This shows the PDO oscillation with temperature; the contrast with the linear trend for the period is marked:

    Then there is this classic showing the relationship between PDO and AMO and temperature:

    Bearing in mind Muller and the Berkeley team now think AMO is the dominant factor determining natural variability:

  48. Neville August 2, 2013 at 12:59 pm #

    Even the Economist is suggesting the IPCC is admitting that their earlier reports exaggerated AGW.

    Give these fools a few more years and the 6th report will be back to around 1 C for a doubling of co2 .
    Just more proof that mitigation of CAGW is just a crazy way of wasting trillions $ for a zero return.

  49. Jennifer Marohasy August 2, 2013 at 2:16 pm #

    Thanks Cohenite. But the PDO is not a measure of ENSO. SOI and Nino 3.4 etcetera, are.

    There are charts in Carter et al. and they show a close correlation between ENSO and temperature, but not sure which index they used as a measure – have to look again.

    But I’m keen to see the chart that Luke thinks gives the best representation of the relationship.

    I suspect, but I may be wrong, that a simple visual inspection of even the most ‘adjusted’ temperature trend when plotted with ENSO would cast doubt on the maths of Grant Foster et al..

  50. Debbie August 2, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

    I am also interested in the questions around methodology. I remember quite some time ago that Luke & Bazza kept dodging a similar question re a Climate4You update.
    The question was relatively simple. . . is there a clearly stated methodology and is it clearly followed? If the answer is no. . . then what has been done incorrectly according to the stated methodology?
    The last time after many pages of dodging and spraying, we were told there was nothing wrong with what was done but something wrong with who did it. . . Including the fact that Prof Ove comes from Norway.

  51. Luke August 2, 2013 at 4:08 pm #

    Just back and need to read some threads.

    Debbie read the refutations carefully then ask some questions. Don’t rush all over the shop on other issues – stay on point.

    Beth the Surf – illogical as Jen’s piece also uses a rhetorical style. Ya can’t have it both ways. I have given explicit references on the issue. Did you read them (of course not as you’d go blind).

    Jen of course global temperature and ENSO are correlated – but temperature rises and falls – the question is does ENSO build long term heat content at decadal to centennial scale.

  52. Luke August 2, 2013 at 4:10 pm #

    And Beth the relevance of climategate emails to the Foster et al rebuttals is zero. Hand waving and rabbit tricks from hats aren’t arguments.

  53. Luke August 2, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

    Here’s your alternative universe Debbie

  54. cohenite August 2, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

    “But the PDO is not a measure of ENSO.”

    I agree; what I said was:

    “PDO is the ENSO sum”; see:

    Bob Tisdale has explored this effect in his discussions of the “re-emergence” effect:

    Note how Bob reveals Foster’s critique of MDC for the shambles it is.

    I see luke has disgracefully linked to the Meehl junk which I repudiate above.

    It is quite feasible that ENSO generates trend because it is well established that it is asymmetrical:

    A possible reason for the asymmetry:

  55. Beth Cooper August 2, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

    What was it Nassim Taleb said about reference ter ‘handwaving’?
    …a vague term used in absence of a specific criticism used by critics
    when they can’t find anything more negative to say.

    What I said about ‘your’ use of language in ‘your’ post still stands, Luke.

  56. sp August 2, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

    Supercilious, sorry, Supercell Luke seems to have 3 weapons in his arsenal:

    1. Deny
    2. Deny
    3. Deny

    and a bit of obfuscation thrown in for good measure

  57. Luke August 2, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

    Cohenite unpublished Walter Mitty doesn’t repudiate anything except his ore thumb. Gerry Meehl ! Cohenite refutes Meehl – I just kacked.

    and as also unpublished Tisdale is a self confessed statistical silly billy I don’t think we’ll be accepting anything he says. He might suddenly do a “sorry forget all that” post – who would know?

    sp OK I give in – I see your point. BTW can you explain why Foster is wrong – two sentences will do. Sound crickets? Beth ? More crickets or speaking in tongues. Beth – go hard or go home.

  58. Luke August 2, 2013 at 5:49 pm #

    Like you can’t script this stuff. But this is Cohers court witness.

    “Guest post by Bob Tisdale


    I displayed my very limited understanding of statistics in my post On Foster and Rahmstorf 2011 – Global temperature evolution 1979–2010. This was pointed out to me a great number times by many different people in numerous comments received in the WattsUpWithThat cross post. My errors in that portion of the post were so many and so great that they detracted from the bulk of the post, which was about the El Niño-Southern Oscillation. ”

    My errors were so many and so great …..

    and the bit in caps…..

    YOU ARE JOKING Cohenite ! You are Joking !

  59. cohenite August 2, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

    Honest man that Bob.

    Luke, you are like a dog with its vomit coming back to Foster and Rahmstorf 2011, which I look at here, at point 4:

    F&R is a far worse paper than MDC. F&R, by including a linear trend for warming in their analysis as an independent variable, have demonstrated that global warming is well correlated with global warming. You couldn’t make that stuff up; Foster the great statistician.

  60. jennifer August 2, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

    One can argue statistics for ever. And of course there is that famous quote ‘Lies, damn lies and then there are statistics…”
    When a dispute is about something like the nature of the mathematical analysis the best thing is usually to take a few steps back and look at a visual representation of the relationship… to chart the data and have a ponder.
    But I am still waiting for that chart from Luke?

  61. Debbie August 2, 2013 at 7:28 pm #

    The question is quite simple.
    You could spend pages muddying it up, complicating it, dodging it, sneering and spraying insults….but that is losing some of its entertainment value…. a simple answer will do just fine.
    If you can’t/wont/ don’t want to answer it….just say so.

  62. Debbie August 2, 2013 at 7:43 pm #

    As well as the quote you have posted…I am also very fond of this one:
    “If you torture figures for long enough, they will admit to anything!”

  63. Beth Cooper August 2, 2013 at 7:55 pm #

    Luke oh Luke! What – can – I say – except – ter -reiterate – the – words –
    of – Socrates: ‘ Do – not – fool – yerself.’
    A serf.

  64. Luke August 2, 2013 at 9:51 pm #

    Beth – Serf’s up – but why a be a serf when you can be a citizen?


    Figure 1 here using a physics based approach


    Figure 4 page 145

    and yet another more sophisticated and nuanced analysis claiming the same 20th centruy trend despite IA ENSO and DID ENSO modes from Cohers ol’ mates Wenju and Penny.

  65. cohenite August 2, 2013 at 10:09 pm #

    Well luke, that 2001 Cai and Whetton effort does argue against AGW; you do appreciate that don’t you?

  66. Luke August 2, 2013 at 11:25 pm #

    not really it’s a nuanced discussion and get you haven’t read it fully

  67. cohenite August 3, 2013 at 9:08 am #

    Only the abstract; nuanced or not, it doesn’t support AGW; I’ll bookmark it.

  68. Debbie August 3, 2013 at 9:32 am #

    ‘ nuanced discussion’ . . . looks like newspeak for. . . ‘ hedging our bets’.

  69. cohenite August 3, 2013 at 9:32 am #

    SD, if you’re still reading, you’ll love this.

    On the ABC gardening program this morning some old coot rang in about his problems with the sulphur crested cockatoos. They were eating his home. He wanted to know if it was alright to shoot them.

    After the spluttering died down, he was followed by a nice lady with a bush turkey problem and she wanted to know if it was alright to use a shang eye to deal with them.

    The ABC announcer opined that he thought the greenies will be all over this. I felt like ringing up and saying never mind, nothing that a good shang eye won’t fix.

  70. Luke August 3, 2013 at 9:51 am #

    Of course Debs has read it – NOT

    I know it’s hard Debs but try saying something other than generalist crap. Like a science comment.

    Cohenite shows the redneck that he is. Why don’t you shoot Spanglers Lyre Birds. it’s a great laugh to see them lift around for days. Typical creep.

  71. Neville August 3, 2013 at 9:51 am #

    Well we know that temp leads co2 in the ice cores , sometimes by hundreds and thousands of years.We also know that over vast time scales the correlation between temp and co2 can lag by millions of years. Just check out the studies and graphs.

    But the D’Eleo, Bastardi graph of combined PDO and AMO seems to correlate well with temp since 1895.

    Cohenite also linked to the recent Curry, Muller study that found a good correlation between the AMO and temp as well.
    Co2 has a history of lagging temp and the longer the paleo history the longer the lag. But studies also show that as temp was rising 50 to 60 million years ago co2 was in sharp decline– Pagani, Zachos etc. I repeat this lasted for millions of years of co2 and temp reversal. So not much useful correlation of temp to co2 shown by that study.

  72. Debbie August 3, 2013 at 10:10 am #

    Like a science comment?
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
    That’s hilarious.
    So ‘nuanced discussion’ is a science comment? Deliciously ironic 🙂
    BTW Luke. . .I note you have managed to avoid answering that basic question. Was there something WRONG with the methodology used?

  73. Luke August 3, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    Ice age cores are irrelevant to AGW. If you haven’t worked that out you’re a bit thick. But I guess Neville the press boy is. Neville things AGW theory suggest that bored CO2 molecule in the middle of an ice age tired of bumping into its neighbours slowly decides to get all energetic and thaw the planet. Pullease. Try PETM.

    Try an elementary stats course Neville and take McLean et al with you. First lesson is correlation ain’t cause and effect. You find things like sceptics are typically >50 angry sooking life-has-passed-them-by white right wing males.

    But have a gecko at Bastardi’s crap to see how much of a sucker Nev the press boy is – so you cook up an index (tweak a knob here and there) that matches the global temperature and then claim it’s a match. Ignore the trend. Wanna buy a harbour bridge Nev? You great big led around by the nose ring dope. It’s stats bullshit. YET YET YET – this is the Nev on another thread will lecture about RECOVERY from the Lil Ol’ Ice Age. Please try to be consistent in your nonsense or Debs will have a nose bleed. And we’ll have Beth back with a swag of hyphens.

  74. Luke August 3, 2013 at 10:20 am #

    Debs I answered your question above. If you had not been asking 100 questions and quoting from the CWA cookbook you might have seen it.

    But why be towed around chasing my wake Debs – strike out “moving forwards Debs” “moving forward” and says “Well I read the papers and the rebuttals and I have to say …….” something and the noun lammington isn’t in there. Debs go hard or go home.

    BTW “nuanced” means 2+2=5 or 7 depending on forcings

  75. spangled drongo August 3, 2013 at 10:27 am #

    Yes cohers, if they’re a pest and in plague proportions, natives can be worse than ferals and need control.

    White Cockatoo plagues are driving all sorts of native birds from their natural nesting habitats. Even wild geese which nest in hollow dead trees.

    I have a few common native species of birds that kill and eat the rarer natives. I often shoot them.

    Just trying to restore the balance ☺.

    Ooopps! off topic again!

    Concentrate, Luke.

    “A man with a conviction is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point. So wrote, American social psychologist Leon Festinger in 1956.”

  76. jennifer August 3, 2013 at 10:28 am #

    Thanks Cohenite and Luke for the information and food for thought. I’m thinking.

    Luke et al., But can we please be civil in our exchanges all round… cut the abuse please.

    And I will open a new open thread to avoid off-topic posts being made here.

  77. Luke August 3, 2013 at 10:37 am #

    Jen – but I’m just sledging. They know I love them.

  78. Luke August 3, 2013 at 10:42 am #

    Spangled (and sorry Jen) – I know you would and I imagine you finish them off and don’t leave them limping around for weeks. As a bird enthusiast I don’t think you’d approve of wounding animals with shang eyes. Back on topic.

    “A man with a conviction is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away” goes both ways

    “Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point.” Foster et al have.

  79. Luke August 3, 2013 at 10:51 am #

    Jen seriously back on topic – there are a number of published analyses that show ENSO “adjusted” global temperature series. In fact why adjust for just ENSO – there’s also AMO and COWL.

    So nobody is suggesting ENSO and other quasi-periodic behaviour does not impact on global temperature. So yes correlations will exist.

    And don’t try to portray that climate science hasn’t heard of these revelations.

    The issues are (a) is there an underlying centennial trend from greenhouse, solar output, orbital derived insolation, aerosols, clouds – name your poison. (b) can AGW interact with ENSO and even PDO? – why not there’s only one lot of physics not two (c) there is no trend and we’re just watching froth and bubble of internal variability.

    Can ENSO build heat long term at decadal scales. IS THE QUESTION!

    So you need some science, statistics and modelling to give you some answers. Cooking up correlations, removing trends from data and claiming there are no trends isn’t science.

    BTW betcha you didn’t look at the EOFs in Parker et al.

  80. cohenite August 3, 2013 at 11:54 am #

    “Can ENSO build heat long term at decadal scales. IS THE QUESTION!”

    Asked and answered. YES IT CAN. Graphically:

    The interpretation of this is that the sum of ENSO, PDO, since 1850 has been asymmetrical, skewed towards the positive or El Nino dominated phase of PDO; and since 1900 there have been MORE +ve PDOs then -ve PDO phases. That fact alone is sufficient to prove all 20thC warming.

    The relevant paper is:

    From the Summary and concluding remarks:

    1) If nature exhibits such strong natural variability of tropical Pacific SSTs on centennial time scales, then assumptions that the observed trend over the past century to a century and a half is a response to radiative forcing are tenuous. It could in fact be that the observed trend over the past century and a half is merely reflective of internal variability. If so, it could strengthen or weaken in the future as the natural variability evolves. This will combine with, and potentially interact with, any forced response and thus have implications for tropical Pacific and global climate.

    2) If the centennial variability in the models is spurious, then it nevertheless is a robust component of the three analyzed models, is likely to exist in other models, and therefore will continue to influence coupled GCM projections of future climate, as well as initialized decadal hindcasts and forecasts conducted with GCMs. In all cases, it must be known at what stage the natural centennial variability exists at the beginning of a forecast or projection to isolate the forced change from the modeled internal variability.

    On the issue of cockatoos, I merely included it to show how nervous the abc is about a greenie backlash; and to make a subtle connection with luke, our resident cockatoo.

  81. Robert August 3, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

    Nuance and sophistication I leave to our coffee-clutching urbanites. As for the climate console with its different coloured knobs representing “forcings” and “mechanisms”, that’s for urbanites who have clutched too much coffee while playing computer games.

    But I do like pictures – has Meehl used that gorgeous new BOM purple yet? – and I think I know what a “centennial trend” means. Trouble is, I keep getting these bumps and trenches in my trends that make everything so untidy. I hate this huge trench in my Arctic temp trend, which is as bad as that big bump I showed in the Arctic ice trend:

    Above picture was drawn by someone called Jones in East Anglia, but I can’t find it on his website any more. Is he any good? Peer reviewed and all that?

  82. Luke August 3, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

    Cohenite – re your point 1 – you can say this but it’s simply meaningless – you have to some better analysis on heat fluxes and heat content – indeed makes an attempt at that. Just wacking a few indices around a regression isn’t convincing in the slightest.

    So I’ll entertain a hypothesis about reasonable internal variability – ENSO and PDO “building heat” or “unknown centennial scale” variability. But you have to argue it up with some physics and quantities.

    However in any case the McLean et al paper is utter rubbish and not how to do it. Crap is crap and sceptics shouldn’t be defending stuff just coz it’s partisan. Show some class !

  83. Luke August 3, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

    Robert – a simple question – did you scan my Parker et al reference. Just yes or no will do.

    Lord Kelvin “”In physical science the first essential step in the direction of learning any subject is to find principles of numerical reckoning and practicable methods for measuring some quality connected with it. I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely in your thoughts advanced to the state of Science, whatever the matter may be.””

    So Robert – anecdotes need to be quantified or we’re talking philosophy not science.

  84. Robert August 3, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

    Who are Parker et al? I did press the link for that Meehl character. Colour scheme is a bit old, but he won’t matter in five years, will he? Have to make room for a new batch of tripe. You’ll be the first to shriek if we don’t.

    I think Kelvin was of the opinion you have to know stuff before you quantify it, represent it numerically etc. He was big on knowing stuff, even if he got things wrong at times. But what a guy! Of course, the old baron was a creationist who thought the earth would run out of oxygen in 400 years (he often overdid the measuring thing)…so he might be a good for some climate alarmism if he were around now. But he could change his mind pretty quickly when given plain proof of something truly measurable. Great guy, the king of measurement.

    Glad you quoted him, Luke. Pity about the rest.

  85. Debbie August 3, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    Ah Nope! Sorry Luke,
    You did not answer the question…you just offered another publication that uses data and its own stated methodology.
    It doesn’t show that something is WRONG with the methodology of the MDC paper and/or the MDC paper doesn’t correctly follow its stated methodology.

  86. Luke August 3, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

    Debbie I answered at 9:12 Aug 2 – now stop your typical diversionary nonsense – do yourself a favour and read then report back and tell us that you’re shocked. Or like Robert remain happy not knowing and believing that your white knights wear white undies.

    Good to see you’re comfortable not knowing Robert – don’t quantify anything for heavens sake – then complain about lack of evidence – just tell us another anecdote. – just sus the coloured pics and line graphs.

  87. Debbie August 3, 2013 at 4:10 pm #

    What this?
    “the data are bandpassed filtered”
    As Jen also asked would you care to elaborate what you think that means?
    If I google it…
    It is entirely accepted practice apparently….
    And then you later posted this paper among others that also outline their methodology

    The influences of ENSO and the COWL pattern on surface temperatures
    were removed by subtracting the linearly fitted TENSO and
    TCOWL index time series from TG (Methods). The resulting residual
    global-mean temperature time series (Tresidual
    G ) is shown at the bottom
    of Figs 1 and 2. Filtering out ENSO and the COWL pattern
    reduces substantially the amount of interannual and month-tomonth
    variance in TG without reducing its temporal resolution.

    It looks like they bandpassed filtered the data to me.

  88. Luke August 3, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

    Well that’s better – some engagement. All stats is accepted practice. Doesn’t mean the application is valid/useful/relevant/pertinent. Better do an elementary course Debs. It’s weally weally weally simply Debs – they used a technique – doesn’t matter what – that removed the trend in the data and then said there’s no trend. A duh. The point being to show that ENSO can explain all AGW. If you don’t get the gist of that Debs – well don’t do science.

    An example for Wiki – correlation analysis – regression etc is used every day in statistics. As you would say – it’s a VALID technique – an approved methodology – a stated methodology.

    “Another popular example is a series of Dutch statistics showing a positive correlation between the number of storks nesting in a series of springs and the number of human babies born at that time. Of course there was no causal connection; they were correlated with each other only because they were correlated with the weather nine months before the observations” – capeesh !


    “An example of a spurious relationship can be illuminated examining a city’s ice cream sales. These sales are highest when the rate of drownings in city swimming pools is highest. To allege that ice cream sales cause drowning, or vice-versa, would be to imply a spurious relationship between the two. In reality, a heat wave may have caused both. The heat wave is an example of a hidden or unseen variable, also known as a confounding variable.”

    Back to ENSO and global temperature.

    Don’t find it strange Debs that so many other disparate authors have tried a variety of techniques and come up with another answer. Thompson et al derived some indices that try to account for energy fluxes in major climate variability processes and then checked if a significant residual trend was left.

    My other quoted paper used SOI (different index measuring ENSO) and got a broadly similar result.

    An EOF analysis done by Parker et al (you know what an EOF analysis is Debs) find an EOF1 centennial trend and 2 lesser components (EOF 2 and 3) which are IPO/ENSO and AMO.

    Incredibly Debs you seem to think if a technique is valid/acceptable that everything is fine. Heart surgery is a valid surgery technique but you tend not to use it for warts.

    Debs – it’s a try-on to get one into the literature. Appalling that it got through peer review. Disgraceful. But shredded by journal readers withing HOURS of hitting the decks.

    Now as I remarked to Cohenite above – the hypothesis that ENSO builds heat longer term or that there is centennial variability is well worth a debate and science investigation. That’s fine. Cohenite has even quoted a single study using (choke) a GCM to investigate such things (a GCM choke gurgle – no hypocrisy there).

    So I am not saying the question is not worth asking. But a bit of a dodgy hand wave isn’t evidence of anything.

    But let us return to the editorial here – a spray by Jen on peer review closed shop. And she’s defending a crappy paper by some mates that got shredded and a bad reception. There is no conspiracy here Debs – rubbish is rubbish. And Jen makes the assertion that IPCC don’t have ENSO in their models when a 10 second Google would show otherwise.


  89. cohenite August 3, 2013 at 4:51 pm #

    Seriously luke, the buckets; and Phil Jones?! That is dead and buried; Tisdale has some fun with a complete overview of the schmozzle here:

    The dip in the GMT from 1945 to about 1976 was real because it occurred on the land as well as the sea.

    “Just wacking a few indices around a regression isn’t convincing in the slightest.”

    No, quite the contrary; that’s not what is done on the link which I repeat:

    That graph is not a few indices around a regression it is the actual temp trend and yearly anomaly; the cooling and warming periods correlate with the PDO phase changes! The HadCrut record is global not just ocean; your paper from Jones about the bucket issue is crap.

    Lift your game.

  90. Debbie August 3, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

    Yes correct,
    It is done to see if there is a significant ‘other’ left.
    When the MDC paper did it according to their clearly outlined methodology. . . they concluded the ‘other’ was not significant.
    When others like the Thompson et al use their clearly outlined methodology they don’t really find anything significant either.
    They both bandpassed filtered the data however Luke.
    Resorting to a medical analogy does not answer the simple question.
    There are plenty of papers that get shredded. . . Gergis et al comes to mind. . .

  91. Luke August 3, 2013 at 5:23 pm #

    Tisdale – haahahahahahahahaha! good grief. Mr “whoops I buggered my stats”

    Cohenite your graph is unsightful. A high school student could a few regressions mate. You’re starting to believe correlation is cause and effect. Storks and babies. Where do the building terrawatts of heat come from. No mechanisms and amateur bullshit.

    Debbie – you’re stupid. They removed the trend. Removed the trend. Removed the trend. Removed the trend. Are you that thick. They didn’t see if there was a significant other left. So here’s your logic Debs – I remove your lamington and then tell you that you never had one.

    Who cares if methodologies are clearly outlined if they are CRAP !

    Everyone else has found a trend. Debbie – I think you had better give it away – as unless you are pulling my leg to keep me going you really are dense.

    And we are not talking about Gergis – irrelevant.

  92. Luke August 3, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

    “The HadCrut record is global not just ocean;” but we all know you can’t trust the land surface record – so why are you quoting it? Why Parker et al is so compelling – uses two SST records.

  93. Luke August 3, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

    BTW – I don’t read Watts – I’m not into science fiction and tin foil hats. Fancy quoting a denialist disinformation site as a source of information. Who can be bothered checking how much bullshit is in there as has been shown time after time.

  94. Robert August 3, 2013 at 6:41 pm #

    Yes, that big temp plunge and ice build-up in the Arctic during the 60s and 70s upsetting our trend…No wonder the settled “science” was a bit teeth-chattery:

    “Effects on the global temperature of large increases in carbon dioxide and aerosol densities in the atmosphere of Earth have been computed. It is found that, although the addition of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere does increase the surface temperature, the rate of temperature increase diminishes with increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.”


    Poor CO2 didn’t have a chance against those aerosols, did it? There was gunna be bad cooling, and that was that. You have to sympathise with Steven Schneider. He was quite young in 1971. And he was quite prudent by the measure of other experts. He wasn’t at all sure it would be a good idea to nuke the ice sheets or cover the poles in soot. He thought there could be side effects! Of course, by the time Steven was a middle aged guy like Luke, he had put away the things of a child…and those flared jeans.

    Just remember that a lot of these people and institutions came to prominence preaching ice age and global cooling, the CRU among them. Like I said before, don’t tell ’em they’re sexy or they are never going to stop with the worse-than-we-thought stuff. When Lord Kelvin miscalculated he often paid a price in his own dough. The climatariat, being New Class, perpetually funded and intrinsically superior, will admit nothing, just say “anecdote” to any criticism, and move right along.

    Don’t end up one of their anecdotes.

  95. Beth Cooper August 3, 2013 at 8:00 pm #

    Luke oh Luke you are so slick you crack me up, 🙂

    Plus 1 ter Debbie on ‘nuance’… Say, Mark, do you have any
    notion of the irony re yer attempts ter commandeer Jennifer
    Marohasy’s blog?

    A – serf – in – favour – of – open – society – dialogue.

  96. Beth Cooper August 3, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

    Tsk! Luke! lol

  97. Debbie August 4, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

    Yes Luke….
    And in the Thompson et al…..”The influences of ENSO and the COWL pattern on surface temperatures were removed……The influences of ENSO and the COWL pattern on surface temperatures were removed…..The influences of ENSO and the COWL pattern on surface temperatures were removed “….
    (that’s a repeated direct quote from the Thompson et al paper ….that I did read….BTW)
    And as much as I think arguing over analogies is not productive and inappropriate….your lamington analogy is entirely ridiculous.
    By removing that one lamington….the only way your analogy could possibly be at all relevant is … if they could hypothesise and plot if the removal of that lamington would have any significant influence on the rest of my daily/monthly/decadal behaviour.
    Guess what the answer to that one would be?

  98. Luke August 4, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

    Hey Debs – see this

    Well I used a valid methodology and look – there’s no underlying trend at all.

    This is your level of blatant stupidity Debbie. You think this is fine. If you are so bereft of a scintilla of brains I would just be quiet and slip away before someone notices that you’re a nanny goat.

  99. Debbie August 4, 2013 at 3:14 pm #

    No Lukey . . . do try to stay on task here
    You very obviously and ironically have no clue what I think.
    nowhere did I say I think this is fine. . . I have always, always, always ad nauseum said that this type of work is useful and only remains useful if it is correctly updated with real time data.
    It is not sufficient in and of itself to dictate anything much of anything much at all.
    My point has much more to do with stuff like pots and kettles and goose and gander and so on.

  100. Debbie August 4, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

    I also have a strong suspicion that if I could be bothered to pull up those links at the moment. . . You have indeed inadvertently proved my point. . . . as opposed to what you think I think is fine.
    When I have time later. . . . I will try to remember to thank you Luke.

  101. Luke August 4, 2013 at 7:15 pm #

    “that if I could be bothered to pull up those links ” y

    “A man with a conviction is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point. ”

    YUP !

  102. Debbie August 4, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

    Are you trying to snatch the pots and kettles and goose and gander? 🙂
    Good luck with that Luke.
    BTW I did bother. . . and wondered why I did.

  103. Luke August 4, 2013 at 10:08 pm #

    Didn’t get it. Thick.

  104. Debbie August 5, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    You are the bunny hopping away from the point.
    Instead of paying attention to the crux of my previous post. . . you chose to focus on the fact that I have my own life and make my own time management decisions. . . which is delightfully ironic if you care to think about it.
    All these papers (includingMDC) are useful information and can be useful tools. It’s all very interesting and high tech. Far far too many of them however, are vulnerable to misuse and have been misused.
    I actually think Jen’s ‘Altar of Conviction’ is very clever imagery.

  105. Luke August 5, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    Nope – the paper was shredded and the response to the rebuttal denied.

    So there are only 2 options (1) it’s a big conspiracy (2) the paper is rubbish

    Did you see my two graphs – that’s the essence of it. I assume you think that’s acceptable. If you do – well not much more I can add.

    How you think misinformation is useful I don’t know. The post is unsupportable sophistry. In fact Jen’s comment about ENSO not being in IPCC GCMs is defeated with a 10 second Google.

    I hope you’re happy being mislead. But hey “it’s useful information and useful tools”. Weally? How? Come on !

  106. Debbie August 5, 2013 at 2:27 pm #

    How many times do I have to tell you I do not think it is fine and I do not think it is acceptable before you finally geddit?

  107. Luke August 5, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

    Why didn’t you say so then?

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