Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Circus Comes to Town (Again)

Well, after the scientifically challenged Monckton whirlwind tour of exaggeration and disinformation, it's time for the second rank performers to strut their stuff. Anthony Watts ("A former television meteorologist"), David Archibald ("An Australian scientist operating in the fields of climate science and cancer research") and David Stockwell ("Former U.S. scientist") will be coming to a (cooling) town near you.

EoR wonders why they're charging for their tour, when it's apparently dissimulating climate scientists who are only in it for the grant money. Surely Big Oil and Big Mining have a few dollars lying around to help them out?

Andrew Watts appears to have made it his life's cause to photograph meteorological recording stations, thereby disproving the whole of the lie that is climate science. The NOAA have published a response to these claims. To which Mr Watts bleats:

They borrowed (and I use that term loosely) some of my early data that I had published up to the website to help my volunteers locate stations. We had 43% of the network surveyed at that point, and I had never published any other data beyond that, and I advised them when they started doing this work that that data that they used had not been quality controlled yet, it was there just for the purposes of locating stations, and the data contained in it hadn't been quality checked, and it was far from complete. It had biases in it related to the spatial representation in the US, those holes that I tried to fill in, for example, in the middle of the country, in rural areas in the middle of Texas and Oklahoma and Idaho, away from cities. That data didn't have those things. And so what they ended up with was a set of data that was mostly urban, mostly around cities, not quality controlled and not complete, and they used that data because they were so keen on discrediting our work that they rushed to get that out.

And I made complaints with the journal saying that the use of my data to publish a paper that I hadn't even finished yet was wrong and it violated professional standards, and they went ahead anyway and did it. So I think that their methodology speaks to the credibility of the results.

In other words, the claims made were based on incomplete, unverified 'data'? His 'paper' isn't finished or peer-reviewed yet, but he's touring the country to promote his findings? And EoR won't even point out the irony of the dummy-spitting of "They stole my data!" when the climate denialists berated the Climate Research Unit for refusing to release data under FOI. EoR trusts that the Watts circus will have a sufficiently large black pot with them.

One popular skeptic argument has been to cast doubt on the surface temperature record. Skeptics claim thermometers are unreliable because surroundings can influence the reading. They reinforce this by showing photo after photo of weather stations positioned near warming influences like air conditioners, barbeques and carparks. [How climate skeptics mislead]

Archibald, who is so widely experienced he appears to be an expert in the closely linked fields of climate science and cancer research, is not above fiddling the inputs in order to get the result he wants. Which seems to be a favourite exercise among the deniers.

If anyone is interested in his groundbreaking powerpoint presentation or his Nobel quality booklet they are available from the Inquiry into the Senate Select Committee on Climate Policy website (and anyone who needs the 'help' of Christopher Monckton, as he notes in his acknowledgements, is really in desperate straits). Strangely, one of his slides is based on "A Rural US Data Set". Yes, those same weather stations that his performance partner, Anthony Watts, claims are providing corrupt data. Oh, irony, where is thy sting...

In his booklet he states (Solar Cycle 24, p. 45):

2009 is the eleventh anniversary of the recent peak on global temperature in 1998. The world has been cooling at 0.06 degrees per annum since then. My prediction is that this rate of cooling will accelerate to 0.2 degrees per annum following the month of solar minimum sometime in 2009.

Science is, of course, tested by making predictions based on observations, and testing those predictions. How does Archibald fare?

First five months of 2010 [are] second warmest on record

Global climate trend since Nov. 16, 1978: +0.14 C per decade

Nonetheless, never let it be said that a failed hypothesis will prevent him touring the country with his failed hypothesis. Unless the intended purpose of the tour is so Archibald can explain that he got it wrong.

Of course, much of his data is no longer current. Nor, apparently, are his current affairs since here is Archibald at the beginning of this month rambling on about Climategate while blissfully (or ignorantly?) completely ignoring the reviews that have been conducted into that little denier fiasco.

Though EoR certainly admires anyone who starts his argument by referencing his own book in the very first sentence as evidence of his claims:

If the data and forecasts in this book are correct, then the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the National Academy of Sciences in the United States, the Royal Society in the United Kingdom, the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO in Australia are all wrong.

Ah yes, but there's that 'If'...

EoR is also amazed at the paranoid world he seems to be living in:

The Chief Scientist’s statement is idiotic and patently false, more worthy of a Chief Shaman. There is no physical evidence anywhere on the planet that “disastrous global warming” will start by 2014, or any time at all. The position of Chief Scientist should be the last line of defence of the Australian public from the depredations of any rent-seekers and carpetbaggers. Instead she has joined the chorus that wants to condemn the Australian nation to penury. The Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO have failed the Australian public dismally. That is putting it mildly. In truth, they have conspired against the Australian nation.

It should be noted that EoR fully supports the contention that the Chief Scientist should not be swayed by 'rent-seekers and carpetbaggers'.

David Stockwell is a little more obscure (most Google hits for his name relate to the upcoming tour - of which he's only supporting the Queensland leg) though he seems to specialise in statistical modelling. Could it be using those disproved computer modelling methods that we all know are completely unreliable and only prove what you want them to show? If Archibald brings the Pot, EoR hopes Stockwell will bring the Kettle. It would seem he should not be confused with a Heartbeat character of the same name:

David Stockwell appears sporadically in the early seasons of Heartbeat; it's not until later that he becomes a regular cast member. "Not quite the full quid", David is a useful off-sider for Claude Greengrass.

EoR is, however, interested in his claim that

In general, precipitation increases on the weekends, and temperature and sunlight hours decrease.

Stockwell links to a paper on this topic from which EoR reprints the Abstract. Note that the paper is about Meteorology, not Climate. Certain points have been emphasised by EoR to indicate that what the paper is saying is not actually what Stockwell is claiming (another common denier tactic is to claim support from published papers, but then fail to represent the findings of those papers accurately).

There have been many reports on the subject of weekly periodicity in meteorological variables; they are an indication of anthropogenic influence on (short term) climate.

For Europe, it was found that, for a period from 1946 to 2006, the beginning of the week is warmer than the end of the week. Divided across Europe, this pattern is not as uniform though; the end of the week is the coldest period of the week across Europe, but the warmest period of the week varies; an indication of a regional pattern.

Over time, there is a shift of the general weekly pattern of the warmest period at the beginning of the week to the end of the week (and vice versa for the coldest period of the week). For the different areas in Europe there is also a shift visible, but not as clear as the general shift. The reasons for this shift remain unclear.

Over time the influence of maximum temperature on the weekly pattern seems to have decreased, while the influence of minimum temperature has increased.

In sunshine and precipitation it is harder to distinguish a weekly pattern, due to the different mechanism influencing these variables.

These results indicate that weekly periodicity is present in Europe, and is most likely to be influenced by anthropogenic emissions. A change in these emission patterns seems to also have influence on weekly meteorology.

More research is necessary to get a clear idea of the connection between aerosols and meteorology.

People might be better off attending this public forum instead.

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