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Keyword: ‘global cooling’

Why The Global Cooling Story Is So Important…In The Anthropogenic Global Warming Debate

2010/11/12 17 comments

On the face of it, the whole debate about “global cooling in the 1970’s” is a matter of despair. If we can’t agree on what has happened less than 40 years ago, and is still remembered by many people, despite the avalanche of available snippets of information, a great deal of them accessible to all via the Internet…then what can we agree on? And what is the meaning of “history” at all??

So the only way to rescue our knowledge of the Renaissance, Ancient Rome or the Pharaos is by establishing that there is something special about the “global cooling the 1970’s debate“, something the unfortunately gets in the way and prevents people from recognizing what has happened within living memory. What is it?

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The story so far…Did the scientists believe in the 1970s that there was global cooling? Yes. A paper by Mitchell in 1972 consolidated the idea. The Peterson, Connolley and Fleck article usually paraded around, it says just as much. Here I quote them again, with some added emphasis for those hard of seeing:

By the early 1970s, when Mitchell updated his work (Mitchell 1972),

THE NOTION OF A GLOBAL COOLING TREND WAS WIDELY ACCEPTED

, albeit poorly understood

In fact, we now know that “the world” was not cooling at the time, but “the Northern Hemisphere” was. Only thing, the scientists in 1972 had no way to know it was just a Northern Hemisphere thing. All of this is actually quite inconsequential wrt the original question (once again: “Did the scientists believe in the 1970s that there was global cooling?“). Anyway: in the published scientific literature, the global cooling idea started in fact evaporating in 1975, and had been replaced by global warming at full speed from 1979 or so (curiously, in sync with the PDO…). The same happened but much more slowly outside the world of research, so most people have been exposed to “global cooling” (actually, to global cooling consensus) well into the 1980s.

I am not saying I have found the last word on this, but the story above makes much more sense than the usual worldwide newsmedia sensationalism conspiracy as suggested by those adamantly opposed to any memory of the global cooling scare. What is it, that they can’t digest, to the point of denying recent history even if it stares at them from the ink of their own writing?

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If one believes in contemporary global warming, the most obvious and logical reply to anybody saying “there was a global cooling consensus in the 1970s” should be “Yes, but…” followed by a long explanation on why the consensus is right this time and was wrong at the time. After all some consensuses have been right in the past, and some wrong.

This would cut off all sorts of sterile polemics and actually contribute to an increase in reputation of the average warmist daring to launch into such an argument, facing reality rather than fudging it. But nobody goes in that direction. Why?

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As far as I can understand it to date, there are two main reasons for such a peculiar behavior: the AGWers’ unhealthy attachment to catastrophism (that forces them into defending absurdist ocean-boiling claims), and their single-minded determination not to allow the mere possibility of anybody uttering any suggestion that anything about AGW could be wrong, unless “it’s worse than we thought!” (that forces them into trying to rewrite history, personally attack any disbeliever, blowing up schoolchildren in comedy videos, and all sorts of nasty stuff).

In the AGWer world it is worse than blasphemous even to try to remember that, not so many years ago, there was indeed a climate worry, only it was a worry about the world getting cooler, rather than warmer. With so many easy-to-spot mirror claims (eg Pakistan floods because of cooling then, Pakistan floods because of warming now) logic dictates that the wall of evidence needed to convince people to really care about AGW becomes taller by the minute. And the one needed to acquire the political will to work against catastrophic climate change, it becomes impassable.

This explains why the discussion about global cooling in the 1970s often degenerates with people stupidly claiming “there was no consensus in the 1970s about an ice age“. Yes, there wasn’t. But who cares? Even a cooling of a few degrees, not exactly an ice age, was presented as very worrying, and potentially as harbinger of catastrophes.

Hence, the “ice age” mention is pointless.

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Like the “AGW is a logical impossibility” page, the discussion about the global cooling consensus in the 1970s on this blog by itself will never be enough to put the antiscientific claims about upcoming catastrophic AGW to rest. At the end of the day, those pages are “just” reminders that we should avoid leaps in the dark, and always be very aware of our hubris.

Anyway…for me at least, these two subjects are evolving into a kind of “litmus test” that will help to tell the honest warmers from the rabid ones. The honest ones, you see, don’t worry about facing reality, including history.

Another “Global Cooling in the 1970s” Avalanche (Laughter, It Will Bury Them)

2010/11/12 5 comments

From Italy to the USA. Thanks to Google. And Google. And Google.

Funniest of the lot: from the Milwaukee Sentinel, Jan 20, 1979. By Dick West of United Press International:

At the recent meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science…the consensus seemed to be that, rather than experience either a warming trend or a cooling trend, we shall have both. Although not at the same time, fortunately.”

Really, try to read that article all without a chuckle or ten.

A New Treasure Trove Of 1970s “Global Cooling” Articles

2010/11/10 38 comments

Italian newspaper “La Stampa” has just put online its 1867-today archive (yes, it IS in Italian). What better chance (well, for me at least…) to explore the evolution of “global cooling” thinking in the 1970s beyond the usual English-speaking newsmedia? With the added bonus of plenty of names and other key words to use as…keywords for further research.

Very briefly: in the 15 articles I have found so far:

  • the popularity of scientists predicting an ice age is very clear up to the Feb 1979 meeting of the World Meteorological Organization
  • “upcoming ice age” is the meme du jour up to 1985 at least
  • there is a warmist slant in 1990 but strangely, the arguments of discussion are more or less the same still central to the debate in 2010

This collection strongly indicates that in Italy, like elsewhere, the average reader of newspapers would have had all the reasons to believe in a “global cooling consensus” for much of the 1970’s and even later.

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Here’s the article list:

1. June 22, 1976 (n.145, p.14): “Entro cento anni avremo una era glaciale” – “Within a hundred years we’ll get an ice age” by Umberto Oddone

  • Mentions Reid Bryson
  • “not all scientists agree”
  • a Cesare Emiliani from the University of Miami investigates 700,000 years of sea-shells Oxygen isotopes
  • icebreaker “Glacier” gets “stuck in the Atlantic”

2. June 27, 1976 (n.150, p.9): “Tra ghiacci e siccita'” – “Between ice and drought” by Umberto Oddone

  • Earth is “having a fever”
  • Bryson again
  • Cesare Emiliani and sea-shells analysis, again

3. Oct 19, 1976 (n.229, p.21): “Fra pochi anni inverni freddissimi – In Siberia spariranno i cereali?” – “Very cold winters within few years – will grains disappear from Siberia?” by Bruno Ghibaudi

  • 30 years of cooling trend
  • Not a new ice age but hard consequences expected for the USSR
  • Mentions Prok Nikola Volkov, Director, Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, Leningrad
  • Kara Sea temperature having dropped from -10C to -13C in 30 years
  • Nearby polar seas, decreases of 1 or 2C
  • Sea lanes to Murmansk and Arkangelsk closed by the ice in the early 1900’s, open in 1941-45, now 60% closed again
  • Two teams of French scientists complete research in the Antarctic.
  • Oxygen-isotope analysis indicates climate cycles, with a new cold peak in 3000AD and a warm peak in 9000AD
  • Mentions human influence, possible apocalyptic consequences
  • Recommends an international program to control climate

4. Feb 14, 1977 (n.29, p.3): “E’ giunta l’era glaciale” – “The ice age has come” by Alberto Rapisarda

  • Bryson again. Must have been very popular.

5. Jan 3, 1978 (n.1, p.3): “Si torna all’era glaciale?” – “A return to the ice age?” by Umberto Oddone

  • Mentions a new book “Climatologia” by Prof. Mario Pinna
  • Suggests getting warm clothes ready, for a few decades or for thousands of years

6. Apr 14, 1978 – (n.85, p.15): “Aiuto, arriva l’era glaciale” – “Help, the ice age is coming” (unsigned article)

  • “Many meteorologists” “convinced” about upcoming little ice age
  • Climate for 90% of the time warmer than at present
  • Causes of the cooling: disagreement
  • According to Juri Izrael, Hydrometer Service Director for the USSR: deforestation, landscape changes
  • According to James Hays of Columbia University and Nicholas Shackelton of Cambridge University: orbital changes
  • Hurd Willett of MIT mentioned as expecting lower temps
  • “Many meteorologists” of the opinion that “it’s all due to changes in the Sun”

7. Apr 27, 1978 (n.95, p.9): “Siamo alla soglia dell’era glaciale?” – “Are we on the edge of an ice age?” by Umberto Oddone

  • Mentions “18 known American climatologists” and a series of articles on Die Welt
  • North Polar ice cap increases from 1971 to 1978 by 12%
  • Antarctic ice mass increase from 1966 to 1967 by 10%
  • Global temperature down in 30 years by 0.5C
  • Mentions Bryson expecting a return to the little ice age
  • Mentions other climatologists as far more pessimist (“big” ice age) – work by the Impact Team headed by climatologist William Colby, former head of the CIA – “snowblitz”
  • Mentions Dansgaard
  • Mentions Calder as reporting the opinion of “not few” scientists

8. Jan 4, 1979 (n.3, p.4): “Sta per cominciare un’era glaciale – secondo meteorologi giapponesi” – “An ice age is coming – according to Japanese meteorologists” by press agency Ansa-Reuter

  • Mentions Junkichi Nemoto – University of Saitama – saying a “little ice age” is already underway
  • Mentions WMO conference in Feb 1979 in Geneva

9. Jan 9, 1979 (n.8, p.28): “Ma perche’ parlare di era glaciale?” – “And why all the talk of an ice age?” by Stefano Pavan

  • Mentions climate wars
  • Hubert Lamb, Alastair Woodroffe: snowblitz (snow accumulating by not completely melting by the end of the summer), 50cm/year

10. Feb 19, 1979 (n.48, p.3): “Cambia il nostro clima – Il mondo va verso una nuova era glaciale?” – “Our climate is changing – Is the world going towards an ice age?” by Fabio Galvano

  • Mentions the WMO Conference in Geneva
  • “400 climatologists” meeting to discuss how humanity can adapt to climate changes
  • Conference President – Robert White
  • Mentions some scientists as believing that Earth is moving towards an ice age
  • Mentions most scientists as believing that Earth is getting warmer due to human activities
  • Greenhouse effect from a sulphuric acid/ammonium sulphide “polar fog”
  • Mentions Stephen Schneider as expecting 2C-3C of increase in the temperate zones in 2050, as CO2 concentrations double. Mentions William Kellogg as expecting another doubling by 2100, with +6C
  • Mentions +20C at the Poles
  • Mentions the Amazon turning into a Sahara (Harry Knowles)
  • Geoengineering in the USSR proposed by climatologist Federov

11. Jan 20, 1982 (n.16): “Tranquilli, non e’ un’altra era glaciale” – “Keep cool, there’s no ice age coming” by James Wagner, National Weather Service

  • No ice age
from Piero Bianucci's Apr 21, 1982 article

from Piero Bianucci's Apr 21, 1982 article

12. Apr 21, 1982 (n.25, p. 3): “Questo freddo di aprile farà’ scendere i ghiacciai?” – “This cold in April will expand the glaciers?” by Piero Bianucci

  • Detailed temperature graph for the last 80,000 years
  • Mentions winter 81-82 as colder than 77’s, considered “coldest in the century” by “American climatologist”
  • Walter Orr Roberts and sun/drought link
  • Mentions Stephen Schneider, according to whom the “turnaround year” from a warming trend to a cooling one was 1972, a year with drought in the USSR, floods in Pakistan, and a delayed start of the monsoon season.
  • Mentions Lamb describing a “butterfly effect” on climate

13. Jan 30, 1985 (n.155, p. 2): “Dietro l’angolo c’e’ un’era glaciale?” – “Is there an ice age behind the corner?” by Stefano Pavan

  • Nicholas Shackleton, Cambridge University – shells analysis indicates a descent into an ice age – for 5,000 years, an accumulation of 50cm/year – “snowblitz”
  • Mentions Danish glaciologists as saying that summer insolation in the Northern Hemisphere has come down, and it’s lower than when 90,000 years ago there was a sudden cooling episode
  • Mentions Nigel Calder’s “The Weather Machine” with a long list of countries that would fall against the climate catastrophe

14. Oct 10, 1990 (n.436, p. 21): “Il clima cambia, ecco gli indizi” – “The climate changes, here’s the evidence” by Angelo Tartaglia
and
15. Oct 10, 1990 (n.436, p. 21): “I dati sono insufficienti” – “There is not enough data” by Stefano Pavan

  • Both articles could have been written yesterday, including skeptics at the MIT and computer models at the UK’s Met Office

Evidence About The 1970s Global Cooling Consensus Keeps Piling Up

2010/06/10 15 comments

Not just Damon and Kunen’s (already mentioned here)…by chance, I have found yet another Science paper (this time Broecker from August 1975) making it clear that, for a few years up to then, the general consensus among scientists had been that the world was cooling:

[…] the present cooling trend […] the natural climatic cooling which, since 1940, has more than compensated for the carbon dioxide effect[…]

Time to repeat myself:  we have a ‘widely accepted [by the scientific community]…global cooling trend’, at least judging from Mitchell’s work in 1972; doubts about that growing in the same scientific community from 1975/1976, as per Damon and Kunen’s paper; but not early enough to prevent Newsweek from publishing its 1975 article, one that even mentions a certain Dr Murray Mitchell. That means that pieces of the global cooling puzzle do suggest that cooling was a widely-held view in the 1970s. Admittedly, such an agreed view did not last the whole decade: rather, it concerned the 1972 to 1975 period.

etc etc

1970s Global Cooling Consensus Not A Myth – The Unassailable Argument

2010/03/23 10 comments

There are still many otherwise learned and reasonable people fooling themselves into thinking that the “1970s Global Cooling consensus” was a myth.  No matter how much they try to massage historical evidence, the evident truth is that they are mistaken.

In the 1970s (I am not saying, for the whole decade) there was a consensus about global cooling. How is such a conclusion reached? By asking the right question.

In fact, the very reason the question is asked is because it is relevant to the world of today.  Some have publicly declared that their skepticism on catastrophical Global Warming is based on their memories about catastrophical Global Cooling sometimes in the 1970s. Much is being done about Newsweek or New York Times articles of the time. The issue concerns therefore what we of 2010 would call a meme, and a popular one at that since it appeared and was propagated in general-interest newspapers and magazines.

That pretty much invalidates nerdy analyses of the scientific literature of the time, hardly a primary source of popular memes. Besides, one suspects it was far easier to publish a work on warming despite the underlying acceptance by prominent scientists of global cooling: surely at the time there was nothing remotely resembling the climategate gang, bent on preventing publication to anything challenging their beliefs. Fabricated unanimities just did not exist.

Hence the right question to ask is: did people sometimes in the 1970s live under the impression that there was a scientific consensus on Global Cooling? Note once again: it is a matter of impressions, not of some kind of unperceived reality.

Take this example: when Napoleon abdicated at Fontainebleau on 11 April 1814, all big political guns in Europe were under the impression that he was finished. Of course we know now that it wasn’t true (Napoleon escaped from his Elba prison 10 months later, and came tantalizingly close to win back his power in full).

Was there in 1814 a consensus that Napoleon was a defeated man? Yes. Was he? No, as far as we understand.  Yes, as far as contemporaries understood.

Likewise for Global Cooling…we have for a fact that world temperatures have not been declining in the last 30-40 years (rather, the opposite has happened). We also know that not every scientist in the 1970s believed in Global Cooling. And yet…for a person of 1974/1975 with an average scientific interest for example, the consensus on Global Cooling was a fact of life. Why, even the CIA did not hesitate to describe such a consensus, and to organize a scientific conference about it.

History is like a foreign country…the only way to understand it is to respect it, and to be careful when dealing with it. Unfortunately, in the heated world of the AGW believer, respect and care are seldom to be found.

1970s Global Cooling Consensus A Fact Of History – My Article In Spiked Online

2009/12/11 12 comments

From “Same fears, different name? – Maurizio Morabito uncovers a 1974 CIA report showing that the ‘scientific consensus’ then was that the world was cooling” published on Dec 10 in Spiked Online

[…] We have a ‘widely accepted [by the scientific community]…global cooling trend’, at least judging from Mitchell’s work in 1972; doubts about that growing in the same scientific community from 1975/1976, as per Damon and Kunen’s paper; but not early enough to prevent Newsweek from publishing its 1975 article, one that even mentions a certain Dr Murray Mitchell. That means that pieces of the global cooling puzzle do suggest that cooling was a widely-held view in the 1970s.

Admittedly, such an agreed view did not last the whole decade: rather, it concerned the 1972 to 1975 period. Says who? Says the CIA, in a unique report I was recently able to re-discover in the British Library […]

This article is much longer than the Spectator’s and contains all the evidence one should need to establish that there was a scientific consensus on global cooling in the period 1972-1975.

World Exclusive: CIA 1974 Document Reveals Emptiness of AGW Scares, Closes Debate On Global Cooling Consensus (And More…)

2009/12/03 60 comments

An eye-opening “global cooling consensus” CIA document dated 1974 has just been re-discovered in the British Library by Yours Truly and is extensively mentioned today in the (printed) pages of The Spectator (UK) and Il Foglio (Italy).

(updated 20091203 – 1042am GMT – the (suitably degraded) scan of the Spectator article is at the bottom of this blog)

(updated 20091203 – 1105am GMT – HOLD IT-THERE IS A PROBLEM WITH THE SCRIBD LINK!! – ANOTHER ONE WILL BE PROVIDED SHORTLY – the CIA document is now online thanks to Guido Guidi and Climate Monitor)

(updated 20091203 – 1143am GMTthe PDF of the CIA document is now available online thanks to Guido Guidi and Climate Monitor)

A Study of Climatological Research as it Pertains to Intelligence Problems” will make quite an embarrassing reading, especially for:

  • the most obdurate catastro-warmists (when they will notice that almost all AGW scares are a search-and-replace job from “cooling” to “warming”), and
  • the history deniers fixated on ‘demonstrating’ that a scientific consensus about Global Cooling in the 1970’s were a ‘myth'(*)

And there is more (much more), from ever-improving climate models promising to become good in a few years’ time to the unsettling apparent ease with which Government agencies then (as now) could get scientists to agree on whatever they needed them to agree on.

Nobody aware of the CIA document’s contents should be able to avoid a good chuckle after reading any of the current AGW reports on famine, starvation, refugee crises, floods, droughts, crop and monsoon failures, and all sorts of extreme weather phenomena; on climate-related major economic problems around the world; on Africans getting in climate troubles first; and so on and so forth.

Why? Because it is all too clear that those scares cannot be real, since they have already been mentioned verbatim in all their dramatic effect, but about Global Cooling.

The whole lot of them, they are just empty threats, instruments of doom-and-gloom policy manipulation with no relation to reality.

It is deeply ironic that it takes a 35-year-old document, available on the web so far only in title, to show the absolute vacuity of the vast majority of pre-COP15 reports and studies. It is time to ditch everything we hear about collapsing ice sheets, disappearing glaciers, species extinctions, and each and every “it’s worse than we thought” report by “scientists”.

It is time to become climate adults.

As I wrote for The Spectator:

This might be the most important lesson of the 1974 report on global cooling: that we need to grow up, separate climatology from fear, and recognise – much as it pains politicians and scientists – that our understanding of how climate changes remains in its infancy.

(stay tuned for the full text of the Spectator article, and the PDF of the PDF of the CIA document)

(*) Anybody thinking about Thomas C. Peterson, William M. Connolley, and John Fleck’s largely mistitled “The Myth of the 1970s Global Cooling Scientific Consensus” (Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society Volume 89, Issue 9, September 2008, pp 1325-1337)? Well, think again after reading this little gem of theirs:

By the early 1970s, when Mitchell updated his work (Mitchell 1972), the notion of a global cooling trend was widely accepted, albeit poorly understood

As I wrote a little more than a year ago: “Widely accepted”: check. “Global cooling”: check.. There was a global cooling consensus among scientists, at least up to 1974. And it went on to appear in Newsweek, The Washington Post, The New York Times and many more media outlets around the world, at least up to 1976.

CASE CLOSED.

UPDATED: This is the scanned Spectator article

The CIA's 'global cooling' files (title)

The CIA's 'global cooling' files (text)

Definitive Evidence for Global Cooling Consensus in the 1970s (3)

2008/10/15 7 comments

A series of blogs analizing Thomas C. Peterson, William M. Connolley, and John Fleck’s (PCF) largely mistitled “The Myth of the 1970s Global Cooling Scientific Consensus” (Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society Volume 89, Issue 9, September 2008, pp 1325-1337). Previous considerations about a global cooling consensus in the 1960’s can be read here and here.

4 – AN INCOHERENT TIME FRAME

In the previous blogs in the series, we have seen how the very statements made by Thomas C. Peterson, William M. Connolley, and John Fleck’s (PCF) The Myth of the 1970s Global Cooling Scientific Consensuscan be used to demonstrate that there was indeed a global cooling scientific consensus, in the 1970s.

The whole concept of the “myth” is merely based on definitions. Besides, PCF’s own methodology meant disregarding almost everything written about global cooling anyway.

Moreover: they have been cavalier with the temporal series of events.

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What is the meaning of “the 1970’s”? In the “Perpetuating the Myth” Box (page 1326, page 2 in the PDF file), PCF are particularly disingenuous in their criticism of Singer and Avery (2007), Balling (1992), Giddens (1999), Michaels (2004) and pretty much everybody else.

From PCF’s own analysis, in fact, one can distinguish two eras, with a “cooling consensus” up to 1975:

PCF: “Indeed, the Earth appeared to have been cooling for more than 2 decades when scientists first took note of the change in trend in the 1960s. The seminal work was done by J. Murray Mitchell [in 1963, showing that] global temperatures had increased fairly steadily from the 1880s, the start of his record, until about 1940, before the start of a steady multidecade cooling (Mitchell 1963). By the early 1970s, when Mitchell updated his work (Mitchell 1972), the notion of a global cooling trend was widely accepted, albeit poorly understood.

The first satellite records showed increasing snow and ice cover across the Northern Hemisphere from the late 1960s to the early 1970s. This trend was capped by unusually severe winters in Asia and parts of North America in 1972 and 1973 (Kukla and Kukla 1974),which pushed the issue into the public consciousness (Gribbin 1975). The new data about global temperatures came amid growing concerns about world food supplies, triggering fears that a planetary cooling trend might threaten humanity’s ability to feed itself (Thompson 1975).

The start of the “warming” era is placed by PCF around 1976:

PCF: “It was not long, however, before scientists teasing apart the details of Mitchell’s trend found that it was not necessarily a global phenomenon.Yes, globally averaged temperatures were cooling, but this was largely due to changes in the Northern Hemisphere. A closer examination of Southern Hemisphere data revealed thermometers heading in the opposite direction (Damon and Kunen 1976).

Therefore, according to PCF themselves, scientists up to 1975 would have mostly agreed that the world was cooling. What is wrong then in stating that global cooling was at the time “scientific verity” (Bray 1991)? “Orthodox scientific opinion” in 1974, that is 25 years before Giddens wrote the text below, was exactly as he described it:

Giddens: “Yet only about 25 or so years ago, orthodox scientific opinion was that the world was in a phase of global cooling.

What one could say is that Singer, Avery, and most of those mentioned in that Box, are as guilty as PCF in viewing the 1970’s with glasses tinted with today’s mindframes (eg exaggerating any mention of “global cooling” into “ice ages”).

But is PCF’s the one truly unmissable statement:

PCF: “Clearly, if a national report in the 1970s advocates urgent action to address global warming, then the scientific consensus of the 1970s was not global cooling.

The U.S. National Research Council report they refer to, is from 1979. How could people know about that report, in 1975?

PCF’s analysis is not temporally sensible.

QED.

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In a lyrical passage, PCF state their research is all the more interesting because it shows the emerging in the 1970s of “the integrated tapestry that created the basis for climate science as we know it today“. That’s a myth in its own right, and the topic for the next blog in the series.

(continues…)

Definitive Evidence for Global Cooling Consensus in the 1970s (2)

2008/10/15 4 comments

A series of blogs analizing Thomas C. Peterson, William M. Connolley, and John Fleck’s (PCF) largely mistitled “The Myth of the 1970s Global Cooling Scientific Consensus” (Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society Volume 89, Issue 9, September 2008, pp 1325-1337). Previous considerations about a global cooling consensus in the 1960’s can be read here and here.

3 – GLOBAL COOLING: PRESENT VS. IMMINENT

In the previous blog in the series, we have seen how the very statements made by Thomas C. Peterson, William M. Connolley, and John Fleck’s (PCF) The Myth of the 1970s Global Cooling Scientific Consensuscan be used to demonstrate that there was indeed a global cooling scientific consensus, in the 1970s.

The whole concept of the “myth” is merely based on definitions. But an even larger issue lies with PCF’s methodology, to the point of showing that despite their claims, they have not done “a review of the climate science literature from 1965 to 1979” looking for a global cooling consensus.

Rather, they have carefully made sure they could find no such a thing, under any circumstance.

PCF: “the literature search was limited to the period from 1965 through 1979. While no search can be 100% complete, this methodology offers a reasonable test of the hypothesis that there was a scientific consensus in the 1970s regarding the prospect of imminent global cooling

Apparently, they have chosen to restrict their interest only to scientific works about future climate prospects (note the slightly different and unexplained definition for “global cooling”, as “the prospect for imminent global cooling”).

But this has meant disregarding all the (ultimately, scientifically right at its time) bibliography about global cooling up to around 1975. In fact: were “projections” of future climates really of much interest to scientists in the 1970s? Not really, as shown by PCF themselves:

PCF: “While some of these articles make clear predictions of global surface temperature change by the year 2000, most of these articles do not. Many of the articles simply examined some aspect of climate forcing.

Most” of the available articles for the chosen period 1965-1979 “do not […] make clear predictions”. Sounds like an apparent article-killing flaw, doesn’t it?

How do you conduct a survey when the subjects are not interested in responding?

And still, PCF decided to move on nevertheless. Where the texts would not reach, PCF’s interpretation will do:

PCF: “However, it was generally accepted that both CO2 and anthropogenic aerosols were increasing. Therefore, for example, articles that estimated temperature increases resulting from doubling CO2 or temperature decreases resulting from anthropogenic aerosols would be listed in Table 1 as warming or cooling articles, respectively. […] Articles were not included in the survey if they examined the climate impacts of factors that did not have a clear expectation of imminent change, such as increases in volcanic eruptions or the creation of large fleets of supersonic aircraft.

This is why we cannot say that PCF have reviewed “the climate science literature from 1965 to 1979”. Simply, they have been looking at 30/40-year-old articles that would ultimately fit today’s patterns: making future climate predictions, and strictly fixated around “forcings”.

There was no chance for them to find many articles about “global cooling”. And they didn’t.

QED.

=====

PCF’s work is about the 1965-1979 period. One would expect good care to be taken with the time series of events. That’s the topic for the next blog in the series.

(continues…)

Definitive Evidence for Global Cooling Consensus in the 1970s (1)

2008/10/14 12 comments

A series of blogs analizing Thomas C. Peterson, William M. Connolley, and John Fleck’s (PCF) largely mistitled “The Myth of the 1970s Global Cooling Scientific Consensus” (Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society Volume 89, Issue 9, September 2008, pp 1325-1337). Previous considerations about a global cooling consensus in the 1960’s can be read here and here.

1 – INTRODUCTION

In an act of supreme irony, incontrovertible evidence for a “global cooling scientific consensus in the 1970s” is spelled out loud and clear in Thomas C. Peterson, William M. Connolley, and John Fleck’s (PCF) The Myth of the 1970s Global Cooling Scientific Consensus.

How did they manage then to show “global cooling scientific consensus in the 1970s” to be a “myth”?

By carefully adopting their own particular definitions for common words; by using the very “selective misreading of the texts” they accuse others to be guilty of (page 1326); and by using quite uneven criteria, strict regarding “cooling” and “consensus”, and loose on the “warming” side.

In the process, they have ended up discarding or having to liberally interpret most of the available literature. Furthermore, for an article dealing with a particular time period, PCF’s comments do appear temporally jumbled up. And they have created their own myths: the isolation of different types of climate research before the 1970’s, and the sudden appearance of CO2 as a factor affecting climate.

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2- THE SCIENTIFIC CONSENSUS FOR GLOBAL COOLING

What is “global cooling”? At least at the beginning, PCF take it as synonym of “imminent ice age”:

PCF: “There was no scientific consensus in the 1970s that the Earth was headed into an imminent ice age. Indeed, the possibility of anthropogenic warming dominated the peer-reviewed literature even then.

Isn’t that a tad too catastrophist, too “2008”, to say the least?

Couldn’t there have been people in the 1970s convinced of, and worried about global cooling, without necessarily expecting “an imminent ice age”? It’s like trying to look at the past with our thoughts firmly anchored to the present, catastrophiliac era.

And what is a “scientific consensus”? Here’s PCF’s definition:

PCF: “[A global cooling scientific consensus] would be easily shown by both the presence of many articles describing global cooling projections and the absence of articles projecting global warming

So they would be satisfied of a “global cooling scientific consensus” only by “the absence of [scientific] articles projecting global warming”.

But that is an almost impossible feat. Even now in 2008, still there are peer-reviewed articles that do not agree with what is incessantly referred to as the “global warming consensus”.

A more open-minded approach would be to define as “scientific consensus” what most people would consider a “consensus”: having a large majority of scientists thinking global cooling was underway (just as a large majority of scientists think global warming is underway right now).

And that is exactly what PCF describe (referring to the 1972/1974 period):

PCF: “Meanwhile, newly created global temperature series showed cooling since the 1940s.[…] By the early 1970s, when Mitchell updated his work (Mitchell 1972), the notion of a global cooling trend was widely accepted, albeit poorly understood

“Widely accepted”: check. “Global cooling”: check.

So according to PCF, a lowering of global temperatures was indeed the mainstream view in 1972. And up to sometimes in the 1970s at least, the available scientific evidence pointed towards global cooling being a reality.

On the basis of what PCF have written, a “global cooling scientific consensus” did exist in the 1970s, if only for a few years.

QED

=====

One could still wonder, if there was indeed a “global cooling scientific consensus” in the 1970s, why didn’t PCF find more articles supporting it? That’s the subject of next blog in the series.

(continues…)

Yet More Evidence Of Global Cooling Consensus In 1961

2008/10/09 27 comments

As pointed out by Nigel Calder in a comment to my “Global Cooling Consensus Not A Myth” blog, UNESCO hosted in October 1961 a Symposium on Climate Change.

The Proceedings of that Symposium indicate the existence at the time of a general (mild) consensus about world temperatures getting cooler, thereby confirming what reported by Walter Sullivan in The New York Times at the end of January that very same year. And thereby also further undermining the results of the Peterson, Connolley and Fleck paper “The Myth of the 1970s Global Cooling Scientific Consensus” in the Bulletin of the American Metereological Society.

(Yes: I do know that Peterson et al claim to be referring to the 1970s. However, they did include, or claim to have included, the analysis of all scientific research from 1965 onwards, a mere four years before the Symposium here discussed took place)

======

First of all, many thanks to renowned science popularizer and formed editor of New Scientist Nigel Calder for writing this comment:

In October 1961, following the US meeting you describe, the World Meteorological Organization and UNESCO organized an international Symposium on Changes of Climate, in Rome. The discussions were led by H.H. Lamb of the UK Met Office, who went on to found the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.

The dominant theme of the meeting was the threat posed by the all-too-evident global cooling to world food supplies. The proceedings were published by UNESCO (Arid Zone Research Series XX, 1963).

I know all this because I was at that symposium. An advantage of old age in this subject is to know just how often the global warmers try to rewrite history, in the Orwellian way.

From Mr Calder’s information, I have managed to find the whole Proceedings of the Symposium on Changes of Climate with Special Reference to Arid Zones online:

CHANGES OF CLIMATE Proceedings of the Rome Symposium organized by Unesco und the World Meteorological Organization – ARID ZONE RESEARCH – XX
Published in 1963 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation

The 473-page PDF is here, for a total of around 45MB.

Admittedly, it is easy to miss something in a document so big, but I am fairly confident the following are the most relevant findings for the present discussion (note that “some 115 scientists from 36 countries took part in the symposium“):

(page numbers in the following refer to the PDF’s, not the original)

(1) At page 182, an intervention by E. Kraus of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Mass., U.S.A., commenting a presentation by J. Murray Mitchell Jr. United States Weather Bureau, Washington, D.C.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the evidence presented by Dr. Murray Mitchell, Dr. Rodewald and some of the other speakers is the way in which it falls into a pattern. Not only air temperature, but also subtropical rainfall, the tendency of hurricanes to move along certain tracks or seasurface temperatures, show a reversal of the preceding [warming] climatic trend during the last one or two decades. The true physical signiñcance of Dr. Murray Mitchell’s result lies perhaps in the combined evidence, based on so many different variables.

(2) On the same page, another comment by C. C. Wallén of the Swedish Hydrological and Meteorological Office

I wish also to state how much I agree with Dr. Kraus that this downwards trend in temperature should be considered significant from a physical point of view although it may not be so from a statistical point of view. It certainly renders itself extremely well to studies of the relationship between changes in climate elements on one side and fluctuations in the general circulation

(3) From the presentation mentioned above, at page 162, “On the World-Wide Pattern of Secular Temperature Change” by J. Murray Mitchell Jr.

it has been extremely difficult by this means to avoid the conclusion that the warming trends [up to the 1940s] for the world as a whole, and for the Northern Hemisphere in particular, are truly planetary in scope. On the other hand, it cannot yet be demonstrated in this way beyond a reasonable doubt that the net cooling since the 1940s has likewise been planetary in scope. That this cooling is of such nature, however, seems reasonable and this should be verifiable if the cooling in the data areas were to continue for another decade or two in the future.

(4) C. C. Wallén must have been a scientist of repute, as he was asked to take care of the concluding lecture for the Symposium, “Aims and Methods in Studies of Climatic Fluctuations” (page 449), that included this:

All authors have been able to show, by using records dating back to the end of the eighteenth century that the warming up of large parts of the world from the middle of the nineteenth century until recently has been statistically significant. However, as pointed out especially by J. M. Mitchell and also shown for sea temperatures by M. Rodewald this increase in temperature has recently declined. The decreasing trend is significant if we consider the last 20-50 years or even further back but may lose most of its significance by applying several of the statistical methods commonly used to show fluctuations during a longer period.

There we have it then: several speakers presenting work on “a reversal of the preceding [warming] climatic trend” about which everybody atteding the Symposium appeared to be “physically” sure but “statistically” less certain. Still, they thought it reasonable for that aspect to be considered valid too.

Is that enough for a “global cooling consensus”? I think it is.

Global Cooling Consensus Not A Myth

2008/10/08 22 comments

Timely but alas flawed contribution by Thomas Peterson of NOAA, William Connolley of the British Antarctic survey and science reporter John Fleck, reporting on the “Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society” about the apparent lack of peer-reviewed papers predicting global cooling, between 1965 and 1979 (it’s reported here in Nature’s Climate Feedback blog).

Unfortunately, it really does look like Messrs Peterson, Connolley and Fleck simply have not looked well enough… or have conveniently restricted their search just enough to miss a 1961 article describing a Global Cooling consensus among scientists at a meeting supported also by…the American Metereological Association.

The article, written by Walter Sullivan for The New York Times (cited by Peterson et al. for his 1975 climate-related articles), refers to a 5-day Conference co-chaired by Rhodes W. Fairbridge of Columbia University and Charles G. Knudsen of the United States Weather Bureau, in the January of 1961.

Perhaps the AMA’s own archives could clarify what climatologists exactly talked about at the time.

Notably, the 1961 Conference is described as as varied and multidisciplinary as any today. And yes, scientists at the time were aware of the “greenhouse effect” of carbon dioxide.

UPDATE OCT 10: Nigel Calder’s comment was particularly interesting, so I managed to find online the Proceedings of the 1961 UNESCO Symposium he was referring to. The contents do appear to indicate a global cooling consensus, as suggested, that was important enough to be mentioned in the concluding Lecture.

Global Cooling Consensus in the Past: the Evidence

2008/10/05 9 comments

Much has been written both in favor and against the notion that in the 1970’s, the consensus among climatologists was that “global cooling” was on its way (strangely, foretelling similar disasters as with “global warming” nowadays, including refugees in the millions, crop failures, droughts and extreme weather throughout).

So far the evidence is inconclusive, so perhaps there was not really a consensus, in the 1970’s, as much as a willingness for news media to latch on anything mentioning refugees in the millions, crop failures, etc etc (thereby explaining why global warming has vastly beaten Pamela Anderson in popularity).

Here’s a little new contribution then: global cooling consensus from 1961.

SCIENTISTS AGREE WORLD IS COLDER; But Climate Experts Meeting Here Fail to Agree on Reasons for Change – By WALTER SULLIVAN
January 30, 1961, Monday – Section: BUSINESS FINANCIAL, Page 46, 1326 words
The New York Times
After a week of discussions on the causes of climate change, an assembly of specialists from several continents seems to have reached unanimous agreement on only one point: it is getting colder

For those with no access to Times Select: Sullivan was reporting about a weeklong meeting of “specialists from several continents” reaching “unanimous agreement on only one point: it is getting colder“. Techniques at the time included “observation with earth satellites“, “palinology” (pollen studies), “dendrochronology” (tree rings’) and “the deciphering of ancient oriental scripts“.

So it appears the one thing we have lost, 47 years later, is those “oriental scripts”…

Theories presented were about “celestial mechanics“, “changes in the transparency of the atmosphere“, “changes in the sun” and a cycle of ice/no-ice conditions in the Arctic. Note how nobody tried to blame humans: this was before 1968, the year leftist thought lost its hope on humanity along with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy.

Sullivan does mention greenhouse gases, but also studies from Sweden, the USA and the USSR that “would seem to weaken the contention that industrial smoke can alter the climate“.

——–

One wonders now if there’s ever been a climatology conference where the participants reached the one missing consensus: that about a “global thermostat keeping the climate as it’s ever been”.

Lysenkoism And ‘Global Warming’ _by Professor Cliff Ollier

2012/01/28 2 comments

Infamous Soviet scientist Trofim Lysenko has become topical again after the recent WSJ “Don’t Panic (about global warming)” letter (read about it also here and here). In the interest of historical record, I am posting here the recovered text of “Lysenkoism And ‘Global Warming’” written some years ago by Professor Cliff Ollier and mentioned in this blog almost four years ago.

The original link does not work any longer (and the WaybackMachine hides the text for some reason). There is also a slightly different version in the Lavoisier Group website. (h/t Justin Ert)

Lysenkoism And ‘Global Warming’
by Professor Cliff Ollier

Trofim Denisovich Lysenko [Трофи́м Дени́сович Лысе́нко; pictured left] (1898 – 1976) was an insignificant agriculturalist who thought he had a new way of developing crops that would vastly increase food production in the starving Russia of Stalin. It was called ‘vernalisation’, and it included treating seeds before cultivation to affect their behaviour.

Significantly, Lysenko introduced his ideas first through politics, in which he benefited from weighty support. Some argue that his precepts had a Marxist flavour, because they asserted that biology could be modified in the way that communists wanted to control people’s behaviour. The government was anxious to increase food production and to quell disturbances among the growers, while Lysenko was an adept propagandist. He became a cult leader who impressed the peasants.

Lysenko was the head of the Soviet Lenin All Union Institute of Agricultural Sciences, and he ran the nation’s research in this field. He promised to triple or to quadruple crop yields.

He demonised conventional genetics, which again suited his masters, who believed this to be the basis behind fascist eugenics.

No Opposition Tolerated

Opposition to Lysenko was not tolerated, and was labeled ‘bourgeois’ or ‘fascist’. Lysenko used his position to denounce Mendelian geneticists as “fly-lovers and people haters”, which had serious consequences. From 1934 to 1940, with Stalin’s blessing, numerous geneticists were shot, and others exiled to Siberia. Nikolai Ivanovich Vavilov [Николай Иванович Вавилов; pictured left] (1887 – 1943), for example, a truly great geneticist and biogeographer, was sent to Siberia, where he died of starvation in 1943, while Lysenko, in person, took over his role as Director of the Lenin Academy of Agricultural Sciences. Any survivor of the purge had to keep quiet. In 1948, genetics was officially labeled a ‘bourgeois pseudoscience’, and genetic research came to a halt. Krushchev also supported Lysenko, but, after his departure in 1964, the Academy of Sciences investigated the records, and a devastating critique of Lysenko was made public. The ban on genetics was finally lifted in 1965.

When Lysenko denounced Mendelian thought as reactionary and decadent, he also announced that his speech had the approval of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. The parallel for the ‘Global Warming’ movement is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, which works through national and international organisations. The IPCC claims its reports are written by 2500 scientists, but in reality they are drawn up by only about 35 people, and are effectively ‘controlled’ by an even smaller number.

Opposition to ‘Global Warming’ is often likened to ‘Holocaust Denial’. We are repeatedly told that there is no debate – hardly a scientific approach. The influence of the IPCC has spread, and it has become increasingly difficult to get research funding without being a ‘believer in Global Warming’.

A New Religion

Why would governments be persuaded to follow this idea before it was scientifically evaluated? One reason may be that there was a rising tide of what some have likened to a new religion – ‘Environmentalism’. Of course, no politician wants to be seen as ‘anti-environment’, or to lose the votes of the ‘Greens’. The ‘Greens’, for their part, are happy to follow the climate-change line because it gives them enormous political power. As a minor party or influence they hold the balance of power, and the major parties dare not offend them.

The propaganda machine of the IPCC is magnificent, with its greatest tool being the Al Gore film, An Inconvenient Truth. This still has enormous impact, although the High Court in Britain did decide it could not be shown in schools without comment because it contained major errors. I suspect that this film was the reason that the Nobel Peace Prize was given to Al Gore and to the IPCC.

Another propaganda hit was the infamous ‘Hockey Stick Graph’, purporting to show that temperature was rising at an ever-increasing rate. This has been totally discredited, but it still seems to be branded on the collective mind of politicians and the public. Much Government propaganda has been lent to support ‘Global Warming’, and major media outlets, such as the BBC in Britain, have chosen to join in on the ‘Global Warming’ side.

No Siberia

Climate change, like Lysenkoism, is much easier to understand than the complexities of real science. This appeals to the public, and also to politicians and other influential people, who can talk as if they understand it. If questioned about details, they simply refer back to the IPCC reports.

So-called ‘independent reports’ on climate change have been produced by Nicholas Stern in Britain and Ross Garnaut in Australia. Both Stern and Garnaut make it plain that they are not scientists and have based their conclusions on the IPCC reports. Yet, both continue to make public statements warning about the increasing dangers of climate change. This merely keeps their reports in the public eye, and echoes the flawed science of IPCC ‘Global Warming’.

At a lower level, without the need for evidence, everything can be blamed on ‘Global Warming’ – droughts, floods, malaria, hurricanes, and even global cooling! The IPCC rhetoric continues, although their predictions have failed to come true, just as Lysenkoism continued when the promised crop-yield increases never arrived. The IPCC forecast ever-increasing temperatures, but average global temperatures have become lower since 1998. They have now put off ‘Global Warming’ for 15 years because some other factors have intervened. The models did not predict this, but such details do not affect ‘the faithful’.

Some scientists sided with ‘Global Warming’ in the early days, and are so committed that they cannot now get off the bandwagon. Others worked for the IPCC, but resigned when they realised how their work was being used, or that real science did not support the claims that were being made. Luckily, we do not have the equivalent of Siberia to deal with these scientists.

‘The Global Warming Affair’ has already lasted over twenty years, and many administrative and scientific research centres have sprung up – most of the latter involving computer simulators. Computer simulation has a part to play in science, but it should not replace observation, hypothesis-testing, and falsification. There are now ‘Departments of Climate Change’, for which read ‘Departments of Global Warming Blamed on Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide’.

A Lesson From History: Parallels With Lysenkoism

We should not forget a basic fact, namely that the one villain of the piece – and the one that is costing billions of dollars – is anthropogenic carbon dioxide. This is the equivalent of ‘vernalisation’ in the Lysenko era.

In summary, the comparisons between Lysenkoism and ‘Global Warming’ can be rehearsed as follows:

1. Work first through political organisations;

2. Claim that the science is settled. There is nothing to debate;

3. Disregard, or deny, all the accumulating evidence that the predictions might be wrong;

4. Demonise the opposition (Mendelian geneticists; ‘Global Warming’ Deniers);

5. Victimise the opposition (execution and exile; loss of jobs or research funds, public and media humiliation);

6. Relate to a current ideology (Stalinism; Environmentalism);

7. Support a vast propaganda machine; and,

8. Create a huge bureaucracy where many people have careers dependent upon ‘the ruling concept’.

The parallel can be seen perfectly in a work by Helena Sheehan(1), who wrote of Lysenkoism:

“What went wrong was that the proper procedures for coming to terms with such complex issues were short-circuited by grasping for easy slogans and simplistic solutions and imposing them by administrative fiat.”

Lysenkoism was eventually replaced by real science. The same will happen to ‘Global Warming’, because real science will not go away. _____________

(1) Helena Sheehan, 1993. Marxism and the Philosophy of Science: A Critical History. (Humanities Press International, Inc.).

Further Reading: Paul Reiter, 2004. ‘Passion and politics cloud the climate debate.’ (Nature 431, 739, October 14, 2004|doi:10.1038/431739c).

Addendum to Skeptic’s Dictionary: Hidden Persuaders Of Anthropogenic Global Warming

2011/01/06 4 comments

(original here of course, with plenty of links to explore each dictionary entry below in depth)

(the text outside < blockquote > is (mostly) mine)

hidden persuaders: A term used by Geoffrey Dean and Ivan Kelly (2003) to describe affective, perceptual, and cognitive biases or illusions that lead to erroneous beliefs.

A NOTE TO THOSE OF AGW-BELIEVING ATTITUDE:

The hidden persuaders sometimes seem to affect people in proportion to their intelligence: the smarter one is the easier it is to develop false beliefs. There are several reasons for this: (1) the hidden persuaders affect everybody to some degree; (2) the smarter one is the easier it is to see patterns, fit data to a hypothesis, and draw inferences; (3) the smarter one is the easier it is to rationalize, i.e., explain away strong evidence contrary to one’s belief; and (4) smart people are often arrogant and incorrectly think that they cannot be deceived by others, the data, or themselves

And now for some examples:

 

ad hoc hypothesis: An ad hoc hypothesis is one created to explain away facts that seem to refute one’s belief or theory. Ad hoc hypotheses are common in paranormal research and in the work of pseudoscientists. It is always more reasonable to apply Occam’s razor than to offer speculative ad hoc hypotheses.

AGW example: The discovery that aerosols have cooled the Earth just when the Earth was cooling, miraculously declining their action exactly when the Earth was warming due to CO2 emissions.

AGW example: The discovery that heavy (winter) snow and cold temperatures are exactly caused by temperature increases

 

affect bias: Our judgment regarding the costs and benefits of items is often significantly influenced by a feeling evoked by pictures or words not directly relevant to the actual cost or benefit

AGW example: Justifying reduction in CO2 emissions by way of how “green” things could become, and civilization “sustainable” in “harmony” with nature.

 

apophenia: Apophenia is the spontaneous perception of connections and meaningfulness of unrelated phenomena. “The propensity to see connections between seemingly unrelated objects or ideas most closely links psychosis to creativity … apophenia and creativity may even be seen as two sides of the same coin”. In statistics, apophenia is called a Type I error, seeing patterns where none, in fact, exist.

AGW example: The propensity to see Anthropogenic Global Warming at work in each and every (bad) thing that happens anywhere on Earth, including in earthquakes

 

autokinetic effect: The autokinetic effect refers to perceiving a stationary point of light in the dark as moving

AGW example: The incredible inability of past and present temperature measures to record the actual values, leading to contemporary researchers having to continuously adjust the figures (lowering the old ones, increasing the new ones)

 

availability error: availability heuristic, determining probability “by the ease with which relevant examples come to mind” (Groopman 2007: p. 64) or “by the first thing that comes to mind” (Sutherland 1992: p. 11)

AGW example: The IPCC declaring in 2007 that tens of thousands of indicators were all compatible to global warming, even if the overwhelming majority of those indicators was about Europe alone

 

backfire effect: The “backfire effect” is a term coined by Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler to describe how some individuals when confronted with evidence that conflicts with their beliefs come to hold their original position even more strongly

AGW example: AGWers patting each other in the back about climate science remaining totally unscathed by the Climategate e-mails

 

change blindness: Change blindness is the failure to detect non-trivial changes in the visual field.

AGW example: The obsession with computing linear trends, making it impossible even to fathom the step-function behaviors (=”tipping points”) the very same AGWers like to talk about

 

Clever Hans phenomenon: A form of involuntary and unconscious cuing

AGW example: Journalist AGWers crowding RealClimate to know how long to count for

 

Clever Linda phenomenon: A form of involuntary and unconscious cuing

AGW example: Climate scientists writing to journalists making sure they conform, because fortunately, the prestige press doesn’t fall for this sort of stuff, right?

 

clustering illusion: The clustering illusion is the intuition that random events which occur in clusters are not really random events

AGW example: All the global village idiots that will tell the world how climate change is upon us, as shown by the year’s news, rather than by relying on properly conducted scientific research capable to isolate climate-change effects from others such as poverty

 

cognitive dissonance: Cognitive dissonance is a theory of human motivation that asserts that it is psychologically uncomfortable to hold contradictory cognitions. The theory is that dissonance, being unpleasant, motivates a person to change his cognition, attitude, or behavior. What distinguishes the chiropractor’s rationalization from the cult member’s is that the latter is based on pure faith and devotion to a guru or prophet, whereas the former is based on evidence from experience. Neither belief can be falsified because the believers won’t let them be falsified: Nothing can count against them. Those who base their beliefs on experience and what they take to be empirical or scientific evidence (e.g., astrologers, palm readers, mediums, psychics, the intelligent design folks, and the chiropractor) make a pretense of being willing to test their beliefs. They only bother to submit to a test of their ideas to get proof for others. That is why we refer to their beliefs as pseudosciences. We do not refer to the beliefs of cult members as pseudoscientific, but as faith-based irrationality. The chiropractors’ misguided belief is probably not due to worrying about their self-image or removing discomfort. It is more likely due to their being arrogant and incompetent thinkers, convinced by their experience that they “know” what’s going on, and probably assisted by communal reinforcement from the like-minded arrogant and incompetent thinkers they work with and are trained by. They’ve seen how AK works with their own eyes. They’ve demonstrated it many times. If anything makes them uncomfortable it might be that they can’t understand how the world can be so full of idiots who can’t see with their own eyes what they see!

AGW example: Thousands and thousands of words written by journalists, scientists and activists about anthropogenic global warming, and not one of them indicating what if anything could falsify…anthropogenic global warming

 

law of truly large numbers (coincidence): The law of truly large numbers says that with a large enough sample many odd coincidences are likely to happen.

AGW example: Romm scouring the planet’s press agencies to list all sorts of disasters that might somehow be connected to anthropogenic global warming

 

cold reading: Cold reading refers to a set of techniques used by professional manipulators to get a subject to behave in a certain way or to think that the cold reader has some sort of special ability that allows him to “mysteriously” know things about the subject

AGW example: The popularity of climate models’ ensembles among politicians looking for something to confirm they need to be voted for, and in the process getting convinced science can really tell us something about the climate of 2100

 

communal reinforcement: Communal reinforcement is the process by which a claim becomes a strong belief through repeated assertion by members of a community

AGW example: The tendency of warmist websites to censor dissenting comments away, leaving readers (believers) with the impression there is really a huge huge number of them, and just a handful of nasty skeptics

 

confabulation: A confabulation is a fantasy that has unconsciously emerged as a factual account in memory. A confabulation may be based partly on fact or be a complete construction of the imagination

AGW example: The decade-long fight to remove from collective memory the substantial agreement among scientists about global cooling (potentially, an ice age), a consensus that lasted at least between 1972 and 1975.

 

confirmation bias: Confirmation bias refers to a type of selective thinking whereby one tends to notice and to look for what confirms one’s beliefs, and to ignore, not look for, or undervalue the relevance of what contradicts one’s beliefs

AGW example: Briffa’s uncanny ability to avoid for years any mention of the misbehaving trees he had himself published a paper about, in the Yamal saga

 

file-drawer effect: The file-drawer effect refers to the practice of researchers filing away studies with negative outcomes. Negative outcome refers to finding nothing of statistical significance or causal consequence, not to finding that something affects us negatively. Negative outcome may also refer to finding something that is contrary to one’s earlier research or to what one expects

AGW example: Extreme lack of interest among prominent climate scientists to publish anything (not even an Op-Ed) about the “travesty” that was (is) their inability to explain why temperatures (actually, the averages of the global temperature anomaly) have not risen since 1998

 

Forer effect: The Forer effect refers to the tendency of people to rate sets of statements as highly accurate for them personally even though the statements could apply to many people

AGW example: The worldwide phenomenon that sees most Ministers and Prime Ministers announce that their own particular country is being affected by climate change at twice or more the planetary average

 

gambler’s fallacy: The gambler’s fallacy is the mistaken notion that the odds for something with a fixed probability increase or decrease depending upon recent occurrences

AGW example: Tamino’s (?) absurdist blog about the probability of having consecutive hot periods being astronomically low

 

hindsight bias: Hindsight bias is the tendency to construct one’s memory after the fact (or interpret the meaning of something said in the past) according to currently known facts and one’s current beliefs. In this way, one appears to make the past consistent with the present and more predictive or predictable than it actually was.

AGW example: The Met Office discovering in January how it had forecasted a cold December in October, as shown by a statement nobody did read, and nobody has read

AGW example: The silly notion that Anthropogenic Global Warming has been consensually recognized in the 1970’s or even earlier

 

inattentional blindness: Inattentional blindness is an inability to perceive something that is within one’s direct perceptual field because one is attending to something else

AGW example: Lancet publishing an incredibly misleading Climate Change report with little mention of the huge difference in the number and type of deaths of people during cold and warm snaps

AGW example: The complete lack of interest about linking the generalized Northern Hemispheric cold and the silent Sun

 

magical thinking: According to anthropologist Dr. Phillips Stevens Jr., magical thinking involves several elements, including a belief in the interconnectedness of all things through forces and powers that transcend both physical and spiritual connections. Magical thinking invests special powers and forces in many things that are seen as symbol. One of the driving principles of magical thinking is the notion that things that resemble each other are causally connected in some way that defies scientific testing (the law of similarity)

AGW example: CO2’s mysterious ability to free the Arctic from the ice, and to increase the amount of ice in Antarctica, plus its long hand into anything and everything that ever happens and has bad consequences.

 

motivated reasoning: Motivated reasoning is confirmation bias taken to the next level. Motivated reasoning leads people to confirm what they already believe, while ignoring contrary data. But it also drives people to develop elaborate rationalizations to justify holding beliefs that logic and evidence have shown to be wrong

AGW example: The Anthropogenic Global Warming’s crowd supernatural swiftness in explaining every (bad) phenomenon as a consequence of human CO2 emissions

 

nonfalsifiability: Scientific theories not only explain empirical phenomena, they also predict empirical phenomena. One way we know a scientific theory is no good is that its predictions keep failing. Predictions can’t fail unless a theory is falsifiable. Some pseudoscientific [theories] can’t be falsified because they are consistent with every imaginable empirical state of affairs. Karl Popper noted that psychoanalytic theory, including Freud’s theory of the Oedipus complex, is pseudoscientific because they seem to explain everything and do not leave open the possibility of error. Even contradictory behaviors are appealed to in support of the theory.

AGW example: Thousands and thousands of words written by journalists, scientists and activists about anthropogenic global warming, and not one of them indicating what if anything could falsify…anthropogenic global warming

 

positive-outcome (publication) bias: Positive-outcome (or “publication”) bias is the tendency to publish research with a positive outcome more frequently than research with a negative outcome. Negative outcome refers to finding nothing of statistical significance or causal consequence, not to finding that something affects us negatively. Positive-outcome bias also refers to the tendency of the media to publish medical study stories with positive outcomes much more frequently than such stories with negative outcomes

AGW example: The amount of time some highly-functioning minds have spent to justify scientifically the reasons for the “hide the decline”

 

post hoc fallacy: The post hoc ergo propter hoc (after this therefore because of this) fallacy is based upon the mistaken notion that simply because one thing happens after another, the first event was a cause of the second event. Post hoc reasoning is the basis for many superstitions and erroneous beliefs

AGW example: The Anthropogenic Global Warming’s crowd supernatural completeness in explaining every (bad) phenomenon as a consequence of human CO2 emissions

 

pragmatic fallacy: The pragmatic fallacy is committed when one argues that something is true because it works and where ‘works’ means something like “I’m satisfied with it,” “I feel better,” “I find it beneficial, meaningful, or significant,” or “It explains things for me

AGW example: The inane request to publish via peer-review a scientific alternative to mainstream Anthropogenic Global Warming theory because “it works”. One doesn’t need to be a leader or a tailor to see if the Emperor is naked.

 

regressive fallacy: The regressive fallacy is the failure to take into account natural and inevitable fluctuations of things when ascribing causes to them

AGW example: The general agreement that natural variability doesn’t count much for Anthropogenic Global Warming, even if the very same people go on to claim temperatures have not increased in a decade because of natural variability

 

representativeness error: In judging items, we compare them to a prototype or representative idea and tend to see them as typical or atypical according to how they match up with our model. The problem with the representativeness heuristic is that what appears typical sometimes blinds you to possibilities that contradict the prototype

AGW example: The sterile obsession with studying climate science by climate models alone

 

retrospective falsification: D. H. Rawcliffe coined this term to refer to the process of telling a story that is factual to some extent, but which gets distorted and falsified over time by retelling it with embellishments

AGW example: The abuse of Arrhenius’ “greenhouse gas” works, with the first one continuously mentioned exactly as the second one gets forgotten, being a more sober rethinking of the original ideas

 

selection bias: Selection bias comes in two flavors: (1) self-selection of individuals to participate in an activity or survey, or as a subject in an experimental study; (2) selection of samples or studies by researchers to support a particular hypothesis

AGW example: Mann’s obviously irrelevant pick-and-choose of which series to use for the Hockey Stick

 

selective thinking: Selective thinking is the process whereby one selects out favorable evidence for remembrance and focus, while ignoring unfavorable evidence for a belief

AGW example: Any post at Skeptical Science, with its incredible list of peer-reviewed all-mutually-consistent scientific papers

 

self-deception: Self-deception is the process or fact of misleading ourselves to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid. Self-deception, in short, is a way we justify false beliefs to ourselves

AGW example: Connolley et al publishing an article about a “Myth” of global cooling consensus in the 1970’s despite providing themselves ample evidence to support the same “myth”

 

shoehorning: Shoehorning is the process of force-fitting some current affair into one’s personal, political, or religious agenda

AGW example: Also known as “decorating the Christmas tree”…at every climate negotiation for the UN, thousands of people try to add their pet project to the cause, including “forest protection, poverty alleviation, water equity, women’s and indigenous rights

 

subjective validation: Subjective validation is the process of validating words, initials, statements, or signs as accurate because one is able to find them personally meaningful and significant

AGW example: Anthropogenic Global Warming causing a (temporary?) shutdown in critical thinking among those worried about getting the world “greener”

 

sunk-cost fallacy: When one makes a hopeless investment, one sometimes reasons: I can’t stop now, otherwise what I’ve invested so far will be lost. This is true, of course, but irrelevant to whether one should continue to invest in the project. Everything one has invested is lost regardless. If there is no hope for success in the future from the investment, then the fact that one has already lost a bundle should lead one to the conclusion that the rational thing to do is to withdraw from the project

AGW example: The UN’s COP bandwagon, moving a lot of people a lot of times in a lot of different locations (but never in Moldova or North Korea, for some reason) even if everybody agrees it will never mean anything substantial

 

anecdotal (testimonial) evidence: Testimonials and vivid anecdotes are one of the most popular and convincing forms of evidence presented for beliefs in the supernatural, paranormal, and pseudoscientific

AGW example: Monbiot’s famous February floral musings brought to the world as evidence of anthropogenic global warmings, back when Februarys were still warm

 

Texas-sharpshooter fallacy: The Texas-sharpshooter fallacy is the name epidemiologists give to the clustering illusion. Politicians, lawyers and some scientists tend to isolate clusters of diseases from their context, thereby giving the illusion of a causal connection between some environmental factor and the disease. What appears to be statistically significant (i.e., not due to chance) is actually expected by the laws of chance

AGW example:Pretty much any Al Gore speech

 

wishful thinking: Wishful thinking is interpreting facts, reports, events, perceptions, etc., according to what one would like to be the case rather than according to the actual evidence

AGW example:Pretty much any warmist blog or statement

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Obviously there’s much better examples out there, so do send them across if you see any…

Global Warming: Solution not Problem for a Thirsty Planet

2008/03/21 8 comments

On World Water Day, the United Nations have come out with yet another dire prediction: “By 2025, fully a third of the planet’s growing population could find itself scavenging for safe drinking water“.

And just in case anybody would miss it: “even as scientists and governments look for ways to satisfy a thirsty world, another threat looms on the horizon: global warming“.

In truth, rising seas and more frequent droughts don’t seem such a particularly bad idea. Think of a cooling world: would that be a drier world too, as more and more water is locked up in glaciers and ice sheets?

Of course a warmer world is a wetter place. The equation warm=dry is mostly if not only in the minds of scientists and journalists living in Europe and North America (i.e., the Northern temperate regions: where in fact it rains less in the Summer).

Anybody worried about water availability should definitely hope for further warming…

Global Warming “has not occurred in the last 4 years”

From Roger Pielke, Sr. “Climate Science” “Reality Check On This Year’s Cold and Snowy Weather – Implications For Global Warming“: we can state that global warming has not occurred in the last 4 years

With respect to the change in upper ocean heat content, as reported on a Climate Science weblog on February 15 2008, the paper

Willis, J. K., D. P. Chambers and R. Steven Nerem, 2008: Assessing the Globally Averaged Sea Level Budget on Seasonal and Interannual Time Scales. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans (in press),

reports on no upper (700m) ocean warming since  2004.

Thus while we cannot state that the recent widely distributed cold waves or overall cooling of the troposphere are evidence of the end of global warming over decadal and longer time scales, we can state that global warming has not occurred in the last 4 years. This is a major issue for both climate science and for policymakers, as only those who blindly (or deliberately) ignore the scientific evidence can still accept the 2007 IPCC conclusions as settled science.

This is part of the original quote from Chambers and Nerem:

“Despite the short period of the present analysis, these results have important implications for climate. First, from 2004 to the present, steric contributions to sea level rise appear to have been negligible. This is consistent with observations of ocean surface temperature, which show relatively little change in the global average between 2003 and 2006 [Smith and Reynolds, 2005, see NCDC global surface temperature anomalies]. It is in sharp contrast, however, to historical analyses of thermal expansion over the past decade [Willis et al., 2004] and the past half-century [Antonov et al., 2005; Lombard et al., 2005; Ishii et al., 2006]. Although the historical record suggests that multiyear periods of little warming  (or even cooling) are not unusual, the present analysis confirms this result with unprecedented accuracy.”

HadCRUT Data Reveal the World is (Mostly) Cooling

Contrarily to what hastily announced at Bali and acritically repeated in news reports including on the BBC web site, the published HadCRUT data strongly support the notion that warming has stopped, globally.

The month of November 2007 has been:

In terms of global sea-surface temperatures, the 2nd coldest November since 1994, and the coldest month since January 1997.

In terms of southern hemispheric sea-surface temperatures, the 2nd coldest November since 1988, and the coldest month since January 1997.

Regarding northern hemispheric sea-surface temperatures, the 2nd coldest November since 1996, and the 2nd coldest month since March 2001.

In terms of global land temperatures, the 2nd coldest November since 2000, and the coldest month since January 2001.

In terms of southern hemispheric land temperatures, the 2nd coldest November since 1989, and the 2nd coldest month since January 1993.

Regarding northern hemispheric land temperatures, the 2nd coldest November since 2000. and the 11th coldest month since January 2001.

Records broken and almost-broken in most sets, but on the cooling side…is that perhaps why there has been no indication of the above in news releases?

Cooling Event? Meteorologist Joe Bastardi’s Latest Forecast

Joe Bastardi, one of AccuWeather.com’s most expert senior meteorologists, has written a very opinionated piece about the possibility that a very strong, almost unseasonable La Nina (i.e. cooling) event will be “a kick in the teeth of people pushing man-made global warming. Why? Because this is exactly what should be happening in the natural cycle that develops when the AMO is in its warm state“.

We will see if that will happen. It is just a matter of waiting for March/April 2008.

In any case, Mr Bastardi’s courage to put himself right in the middle of potential unfriendly fire is commendable.

Pity the meteorologist. If he’s wrong, he/she’ll be without a job soon. And Accuweather out of business. And this goes on and on for the whole of his or her career.

It’s the complete opposite of the cushioned world of climatologists that can forecast everything and nothing, ready for just-so stories to justify whatever is going to happen.

Socrates, Or Pointing The Way For The Future Of Climate Science

2011/10/27 1 comment

Roger Pielke Jr laments the withering of climatology:

Climate science — or at least some parts of it — seems to have devolved into an effort to generate media coverage and talking points for blogs, at the expense of actually adding to our scientific knowledge of the climate system

Actually, it was December 2009 when I wrote in the pages of the Spectator (UK):

This might be the most important lesson of the 1974 report on global cooling: that we need to grow up, separate climatology from fear, and recognise — much as it pains politicians and scientists — that our understanding of how climate changes remains in its infancy.

Here we are, almost two years later. For example, what do we understand about the past? Willis Eschenbach at WUWT shows it in the non-smoothed BEST reconstruction graph:

"BEST global surface temperature estimates. Gray bars show what BEST says are the 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) for each datapoint"

And what do we understand about the future? Patrick Frank in Skeptic.com’s Reading Room:

"The Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES-SPM-5) A2 projection from Figure 1 showing the physical uncertainty of the projected temperature trend when including ±10.1% cloud error (light shading), or the uncertainty in greenhouse gas forcing (dark shading). Inset: A close-up view of the first 20 years of the A2 projection and the uncertainty limits."

In other words: for the past, all we know for sure it’s that the error bars cover from -5C to +3C if we go back to 200 years ago. For the past, all we can estimate for sure it’s that error bars cover an enormous span if we move forward 100 years (even removing cloud uncertainty, still the 2100 error goes from -10C to +16C).

For all we know, Romans were conquering a world that was 50C colder than today, and oceans will boil before the XXII century. Or vice-versa.

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Please do not start speculating about uncertainty as a reason for doing nothing – it isn’t.

Think of science instead: what’s the way out of this cul-de-sac made up of giant error bars? How can our understanding finally leave its infancy? The way out has actually being indicated already, by a guy born in 469BC:

Socrates was wise in that he knew the he knew nothing, whereas others were unaware of their own ignorance.

If and when such a realization will become widespread, only then climate science will be able to mature away from silly manipulations, towards the approach so nicely described by Professor Sir Bernard Lovell to David Whitehouse:

One evening we unrolled the pen recorder data in a long ribbon down the corridor outside the main observing room. “Now,” he said, “look at the data. Get to know it.” His point was that before us was what the universe was saying, and that it was more important than any theory.” Data is never inconvenient. It beats theory every time.

An unexamined climate is not worth studying…

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