Berkeley Earth Project supports global warming trend

In the wake of the much touted UEA “climategate” emails, climate change denial took on a new confidence. Although shown to be a storm in a teacup, denialists still claim that data was manipulated to show exaggerated anthropogenic global warming – AGW.

Other concerns thus spread to the IPCC, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and other climate scientists about secretly reviewing each others data. These claims have and do attract genuine concern. In effect this arguably limited opportunity for criticism prior to publication, watering down the veracity of peer review. It also gave a ready weapon for politically motivated denialists and conspiracy theorists alike to dismiss on an ad hoc basis conclusions of global warming, regardless of data origin.

Aiming to deal directly with both the stain of climategate and a number of misconceptions seized on by denialists is the Berkeley Earth Project. Established by University of California physics professor Richard Muller the project was funded by a number of groups including those lobbying against action on climate change such as the Koch brothers. Muller was “deeply concerned” that discordant data had been concealed. According to the BBC;

Funding came from a number of sources, including charitable foundations maintained by the Koch brothers, the billionaire US industrialists, who have also donated large sums to organisations lobbying against acceptance of man-made global warming.

Physicist Saul Perlmutter, who won the Nobel Physics Prize this year for research on the accelerating expansion of the universe was one of a team of ten. Broadly speaking the Berkeley team has validated the warming trends documented before, reinforcing a global temperature rise of at least 1 ℃ since the mid 1950’s. This followed a review of 40,000 weather recording stations, looking at the global temperature trend over land since 1800.

Global warming is real according to a major study released today (October 20th, 2011). Despite issues raised by climate change skeptics, the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature study finds reliable evidence of a rise in average world land temperature of approximately 1 ℃ since the mid-1950s.

Comparison of NASA GISS, NOAA and Berkeley temperature anomaly data

More so, they have addressed some standards amongst the cynics camp, such as islands of warmth distorting a global view. This rather logical criticism of an urban heat island effect, notes that weather stations are located close to or within cities thus cannot be a reliable reference point for global temperatures. Only 1% of the globe’s surface is industrialised.

It’s arguably a slightly selective criticism because another flawed criticism of a warming globe is that over the last 50 – 70 years many weather stations have shown a decrease in temperature trends. However, the ratio of warming sites to cooling sites is roughly 2:1. This global trend was mimicked in the USA. Clumping is evident yet it’s possible to find “long time series with both positive and negative trends from all portions of the USA”. The authors stress that detection of long term trends should never rely on individual records.

USA and surrounding weather stations: Red – Net warming. Blue – Net cooling.

A comparison of all weather sites (blue line) and very rural (red line) that would be immune from the heat island effect yields a striking challenge for proponents of this criticism of AGW data. It was also noted that weather stations ranked as “poor” showed the same overall trends as stations ranked as “OK”.

Recorded Temperature: All sites and rural sites from 1800 – present

In general their findings have been summarised as:

 ¤ The urban heat island effect is locally large and real but does not contribute significantly to the average land temperature rise. That’s because the urban regions of the earth amount to < 1% of land area.

 ¤ About 1/3 of temperature sites around the world reported global cooling over the past 70 years. Bur 2/3 of the sites show warming. Individual temperature histories reported from a single location are requently noisy and/or unreliable and it is always necessary to compare and combine many records to understand the true pattern of global warming.

The large number of sites reporting cooling might help explain cynicism toward global warming. Humans can’t feel global warming and information suggesting your local temperatures are the same or cooler than a century ago can be mistaken for representative of the entire globe. It is difficult to measure weather consistently over decades or centuries. Sites reporting cooling is a symptom of the noise and variation that occurs. A good determination of global land temperature takes hundreds or thousands of stations to detect and measure the average warming. Only when many nearby thermometers reproduce the same patterns can we know that measurements were reliably made.

 ¤ Stations ranked as “poor” in a survey by Anthony Watts and his team of the most important temperature recording stations in the USA, (known as USHCN – the US Historical Climatology Network), showed the same pattern as global warming as stations ranked “OK”. Absolute temperatures of poor stations may be higher and less accurate, but the overall global warming trend is the same, and the Berkeley Earth analysis concludes there is not any undue bias from including poor stations in the survey.

The Berkeley Earth Study authors are anxious for open and honest discourse, peer review and criticism of their work. To this end it will be available on their website for review:

The Berkeley Earth team has now submitted four papers for peer review. We are making these preliminary results public, together with our programs and data set, in order to invite additional scrutiny. The four papers are:

The aim of the Berkeley Group was to confirm AGW and the extent to which this is occurring. This appears to have been done. Some conclusions differ from earlier views of annual climate changes in that global temperature correlates more strongly with the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) index. This is a measure of north Atlantic sea surface temperature. Whilst El Nino Southern changes have traditionally been attributed to annual changes, the team now want to examine long term AMO cycles for impact on the rise-fall-rise seen over the 20th century.

As the final touches were being put to this report popular “theatrical” shock jock Alan Jones (left) was dodging questions and pushing ye olde climategate email conspiracy line on the ABC.

Under a heading Time for Apology the BBC write:

Prof Phil Jones, the CRU scientist who came in for the most personal criticism during “Climategate”, was cautious about interpreting the Berkeley results because they have not been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

“I look forward to reading the finalised paper once it has been reviewed and published,” he said. […]

In part, this counters the accusation made during “Climategate” that climate scientists formed a tight clique who peer-reviewed each other’s papers and made sure their own global warming narrative was the only one making it into print. […]

Bob Ward, policy and communications director for the Grantham Research Institute for Climate Change and the Environment in London, said the warming of the Earth’s surface was unequivocal.

“So-called ‘sceptics’ should now drop their thoroughly discredited claims that the increase in global average temperature could be attributed to the impact of growing cities,” he said. “More broadly, this study also proves once again how false it was for ‘sceptics’ to allege that the e-mails hacked from UEA proved that the CRU land temperature record had been doctored.

“It is now time for an apology from all those, including US presidential hopeful Rick Perry, who have made false claims that the evidence for global warming has been faked by climate scientists.”

Given the nature of denialism and creatures like Jones, I would suggest reasoning with the rusted on cynics is futile. Any apology will only be forthcoming from those with an appreciation for science, not faith based movements.

I predict regular stormy seas ahead for this manufactured “debate”, for some time to come.


Alan Jones on Alan Jones

I think it would be good for Australia if Tony Abbott was the Prime Minister of Australia

– Alan Jones, influential conservative “shock jock” media identity, climate science denialist and Abbott supporter –

Leigh Sales of ABC’s 7:30 Report hosts an extended interview with radio broadcaster, climate science denialist and beacon for conservative anger, Alan Jones.

Covering issues from mining, to respect for the office of PM, to potential for sustainability, to denial of climate change Jones argues Australia is “entitled” to a better Prime Minister. Side stepping a few points such as flaws in the science challanging climate change vs the wealth of science supporting it, Jones suggests topics choose him. His science illiteracy and propensity for ad hominem attacks against those of differing opinion is at times mixed liberally with logical fallacies as Jones insists on maintaining the upper hand.

Whilst denying using abusive terms Jones immediately defends those he uses as justified. Rob Oakeshott is “brain dead” for supporting climate change agendas and will unlikely get another job. On Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, calling her “a fool is flattering… that’s flattering”. One would have been delighted if the irrelevant anti-Greens sentiment – indeed anti-Left sentiment – buoyed by claims of anti-Right climate conspiracies could be supported with evidence.

Perhaps most regrettably Jones falls back on the commonly debunked climate science denialist tactic of citing ICPP emails as legitimising any and all denial of climate change. Now well established as a careless use of language entirely divorced from the volume of data, the leaked emails are of no moment. One can only imagine if Aussies applied the same logic to Jones’ illegal “cash for comments” scam [Wikipedia entry]. Should his criminal conduct and breach of media codes be seen as cause to mistrust his transparency?

Unusually, despite the platform of the ABC and given the impact of his show on community opinion, Jones produced not one cogent argument to support his irrational position on climate change. His best appeal to authority is to reference interviewing “some of the leading scientists in the world… finest minds” who said anthropogenic climate change affirming science is “a hoax”. Having interviewed a senior IPCC scientist, Jones completely loses track by noting he “agreed with most of the statistics I offered”. Then his famous fallacy gets a run.

Quoting the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere, the percentage of that arising from from emissions and the percentage of that which is derived from Australia, he triumphantly reinforces the 0.000018% of atmospheric CO2 attributable to Aussie emissions. The child-like reasoning here is shocking. It’s a little number thus cannot be of menace. That climate is certainly effected by tiny, cumulative changes leading to dramatic and devastating consequences seems beyond him. As is the impact of only a couple of degrees increase in average temperature. But is he really serious?

CFCs make up a tiny fraction of 1% of our atmosphere. Yet CFC-11 has 17,500 times carbon dioxide’s capacity to trap heat in the atmosphere. That 0.04% of CO2 Jones loves to quote. Jones has no problem with the science of ozone depletion, nor action taken to preserve the ozone layer. Surely then, a bright chap like him could further appreciate the power of minor changes to atmospheric chemistry. Though there’s no political gain to be found in denying ozone preservation. No cleverly crafted junk science making up cushy rebuttals. What if we applied this dismissal approach to human health?

The size of the HIV or Ebola virus is microscopic. The percentage of body surface area opened by a bullet wound is insignificant. The number of cardiac cells to misfire and lead to a lethal infarction is minuscule compared to the total. A tiny blood vessel amongst hundreds of thousands, effecting 0.000018% or less of brain neurons can change a life, wipe memory, destroy speech, render us blind and so on. No doubt he could comprehend such simple notions. Suffice it to say it pays to remain skeptical of Jones’ motives. Or indeed, respect how effective the climate change denialist movement has been.

There was of course, no defence of the scurrilous and unconscionable abuse of science behind the entire denialist movement. For example, consider this from an article by Donald Prothero published in e-Skeptic, late last September:

As Oreskes and Conway documented from memos leaked to the press and published in their book Merchants of Doubt, in April 1998 the right-wing Marshall Institute, SEPP (Fred Seitz’s lobby that aids tobacco companies and polluters), and ExxonMobil, met in secret at the American Petroleum Institute’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. There they planned a $20 million campaign to get “respected scientists” to cast doubt on climate change, get major PR effort going, and lobby Congress that global warming wasn’t real and was not a threat. Then there was the famously cynical 2002 memo from GOP pollster and spinmeister Frank Luntz to the Bush White House:
The scientific debate is closing [against us] but not yet closed. There is still a window of opportunity to challenge the science… Voters believe that there is no consensus about global warming within the scientific community. Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate, and defer to scientists and other experts in the field.

Incredibly Jones says at one point he “finds it hard to believe people in politics behave the way they do, and expect people to take them seriously”. It’s a brilliant example of Poe’s Law colliding with the Dunning-Kruger effect.


Frankstongate: Declan Stephenson intimidates female Greens voter

As Tony Abbott pushed his vengeful NeoCon apocalyptic anti-carbon tax hatred at Frankston on July 13th, he, his attendant minions and assorted flying monkey’s were suitably wound up by Greens member Vicky Kasidis. Vicky announced, rather politely, to The Church of Denial, that she was in favour of the tax.

Then Vicky plunged the Green Dagger into the Black Heart of the party faithful. She admitted that her tea cosy hat, rainbow coloured scarf, imitation carpet bag and sweeping sorceress’ coat weren’t just for show. Nay! Vicky had actually been to the Other Side. She’d voted Greens! Vicky was heckled by the evidence denying crowd who, lost in their monochrome world, had never seen a critical thinker in real life. Being a former militant leftist Vicky took this in her stride.

After the Abbott style “Evangelical Amway For Wreckers” had pumped his crowd into submitting to his idea of making up reality as you go, things got ugly for Vicky. As she was speaking to media, an apparently heavily pregnant – or perhaps pot-bellied – Liberal Party Flying Monkey, Declan Stephenson told Vicky to “get back under your rock”. Coming from the irksome lurker Stephenson himself, that comment alone was sheer gold. But it merely got better.

Stephenson is a long time Liberal party member in the Dunkley FEC. Dunkley covers the majority of the City of Frankston and part of the Shire of Mornington Peninsula. Not happy with just verbal abuse of the very polite Vicky – who was invited to attend, and had RSVP’d – Stephenson took his anti-democracy show on the road. Just prior to this it is rumoured Abbott’s Press Secretary was seen instructing members to “fly and bring me that girl” – apparently caught here on video.

The below footage is ample explanation of what occurred next. Using his belly like a battering ram, the malfunctioning Neocon flying monkey Stephenson, follows Vicky with perhaps the best example of dysfunctional and cowardly passive-aggressive intention I’ve witnessed for ages. Vicky ends up trapped between a power pole and a pot belly as the seemingly witless Stephenson self sabotages with a mix of arrogance, misogyny and thuggery.

Poor Declan. His pomposity is first rate. He appears convinced he has a right to bully a much smaller female. “It’s a free country, a free city, I live in Frankston, I’m prepared to walk around Frankston”. He surely must have lost his grasp on cognition, actually admitting he lives in Frankston?! Telling the media it’s “none of their business” what he’s up to, he refuses to move away at their urging. Vicky had clearly stated she felt intimidated.

One media member points this out. Getting in his face, Stephenson offers, “Why don’t you and the rest of your people leave her alone… then she won’t feel intimidated”. Asked if he treats women in his family this way, and told it’s appalling he answers Vicky, “That’s your opinion”. He maintains he’s not following her despite having followed her for some distance and indicating he would not leave even if the media did.

At one point Vicky says, “I wish for you to leave me alone”. He replies, “I don’t wish to”. He also urges Vicky to go to the train station – her stated intention. Hilarious given the member for Dunkley, Bruce Billson opined in Declan’s favour in parliament last September 30:

“It is important to acknowledge that team: Geoff Shaw, Robert Latimer, Declan Stephenson, …. just kept contributing day in and day out, whether it was at arctic dawns at railway stations through to the slog of letterboxing with a campaign that needed to be quite resourceful, given the funds available.”

Somehow I doubt this creepily resourceful flying monkey was intending to hand Vicky a brochure.

“Wake Up To The Lies” tells lies about climate change

So, I’m innocently waiting for some towels to wash and glance at Twitter to read this retweet by Miranda Devine.

devine's tweet

I follow our thuggish, far right wing religious conservative, progressive policy hating, character assassinating, climate change cheering, evidence denialist Miranda because she’s, well… shat in the face of some rather esteemed colleagues. And is not beneath using grieving parents to fill her anti-drug barrow with emotional outrage in lieu of evidence. A unique and unpopular topic I realise, but not immune to the benefits of evidence based critical thinking.

Anyway, @wakeup2thelies certainly bellowed his message on Twitter – three times in an hour.

Over to Wake Up To The Lies I go, to be slapped in the face with logical fallacies. Under the heading Death Threat-Gate or The AFP Must Investigate Anna-Maria Arabia claims is a report about Anna-Maria’s interview on ABC News discussing recent death threats. She is CEO of FASTS – the Federation of Australian Science and Technological Societies. And like most Aussies and the vast majority of scientists, accepts the evidence on climate change. Which sadly makes her a target for the petty minded rednecks who have no idea that if this evidence was to the contrary, scientists would shout it from the rooftops.

Wake Up To The Lies is a conspiracy theorists site written by an immature 30 year old master of obfuscation and delusion calling himself Adam. Having risen to the dizzying scientific heights with credentials as a part-time shop assistant he’s taken to ranting about politics on the internet. Helping turn the information super-highway into a roller coaster ride through the Twilight zone, Adam recounts the tale basically as an argument from ignorance, personal incredulity and begging the question. Proving he really is a part-time shop assistant he writes two sentences. The second being:

The AFP MUST now Investigate this claim. Anna-Maria Arabia, also claims she deleted the email this is no problem because the AFP can easily recover deleted files and find the ISP from the sender. It is a crime in Australia to send a death threat see ( here ). The AFP must investigate it to find the person responsible or to verify her claim.

Yes, I know. He means “IP address” not “ISP from the sender”. The kids a part time shop assistant so cut him some slack. I sure as hell didn’t. Now when I see caps lock in action, I take the same gravely serious approach as one does with anti-vaccination conspiracy theorists. I laughed. I could only imagine the urgent AFP memo demanding a halt to all ongoing investigations because Agent Shop Assistant had used caps lock. I checked his credentials as a skeptard listed under the tab “Who Am I?”.

adams CVI left a rather unhelpful comment suggesting that if conspiracy sites like his didn’t carry on, then the loons out there wouldn’t be prompted to send boring death threats. It wasn’t published. Transparency failure one. So I headed over to the “here” in Agent Adams’ post, which was Australian Climate Madness and the post “Death Threats To ANU Scientists”. It too was using Adams’ false continuum that these threats can’t be real because they are a crime. And if they are crimes, why then false analogy informs us we’d all know the very truth. My head hurt. Still, I left this comment which was immediately published.

Paul says:

It it not an “investigation worthy” crime.

A minimum of three sequential emails from the same person is required to justify a waste of resources. Intentions to kill are not traditionally preceded by announcements and digital bread crumbs.

Even then threats may correspond with other crimes such as using a carriage service to harass, intimidate or offend. I’ve had personal experience with this scenario.

No action was pursued – despite grave assurances – and I was never contacted again by authorities.

I’m afraid you’re sincerely mistaken or intentionally biased.

I trust you will rescind the offending post.

So back to the part-time shop assistant’s site to see if he would be so gracious. Submitting actually hides the comment. Hence the screenshot.

comment_wake up to the lies

I’m awaiting to see if my comment makes the grade. I doubt it since in the tradition of conspiracy theorists, liars, evidence deniers and part-time shop assistants cum science gurus cum ADF consultants, I appear to have been forgotten. No comment equates to transparency fail two and undoubted censorship to convey false impression. That’s simply lying. Or as Adam would say in true Dorey style – “Free Speech” [what is it with lying skeptarded social miscreants and “free speech”?]. A visit back yields a “no true Scotsman” logical fallacy (yeah, count ’em). You know the type. Atheism is a religion. Skeptics aren’t skeptics because they don’t believe woo woo that requires one be skeptical of reality. Real science is what gives us homeopathy and vaccine denial because science is a process of constant questioning (in this case questioning facts they don’t like), or here the cringe worthy ad hominem attacks of “scientician and “climatician”.

comment on site

We’ve already passed seven logical fallacies so I shall desist from the temptation. But this nonsense of expecting scientists do their “civic duty” so “dangerous criminals” are kept “off the streets” is utter bollocks. It’s even bordering on delusion to suggest unconfirmed threats weaken the evidence for climate change. For those of us in controversial areas and public health these trifles are known as “security issues”.

May I ask you all to pull out your violins and strike a mournful tune as I confirm that amidst frequent threats and insults I did enjoy four delightfully colourful threats of rape, torture, murder running to pages from a returned soldier who disliked my linking to Keep God out of our democracy by Carmen Lawrence, which challenged using Christian values in foreign policy. I posted a single hyperlink to the story. No comment – nothing.

The poor chap below assumed my email domain was my workplace and included promises of “meeting” me there for torture. Then must have checked the office hours of this same place to chronologically refine his plans to…

“… stomp your terrorist loving, anti australian, little faggot hole. Ill put some serious pain up you …. whatever you think you are. IF you ever were in the forces someone would have shot you. Kovco style. LOL… I will fuck you up. Even better where R u and I will come and make you my bitch so. keep going if you want to….

…. You need a reality check son! It is your lack of patriotism that truly saddens me…..

…In fact you are really dumber than dog shit cos I know a lot about you already and more than enough! you silly little boy. I dont assume. I know…

…Remember Jesus loves you, but Australia hates your attitude. Dont need a God? yep uh ha, ok whatever.”
This went on for volumes. Ahhh, how I miss the good ole’ days. The poor child knew nothing about me of course and I had far more serious issues to manage than a keyboard warrior. I tried to reason with his stressed mind actually concerned for those he had access to. I’d tracked his emails to a Brisbane hospital, spoke to the IT head who put me in touch with Paul Grainger of QLD health who ensured me the QLD Crime and Misconduct Commission would be a-rollin’ out.
Never heard another word… nor cared to. I was used to any manner of lunacy and violence in a certain role. The point here is when you’re hitting the mark and opponents have nothing to rebuke you with, then threats and death threats emerge. But I can certainly identify with those who would be intimidated.
I can assure the likes of Adam and his climate science denialist pals they too will never hear whatever it is they think they deserve to and more to the point it’s none of their darn business.