Posted by: Barry Bickmore | September 6, 2011

Roy Spencer Persecuted By Own Data

Summary:  Roy Spencer’s latest paper, published in Remote Sensing, supposedly “blew a gaping hole” in the standard theory of climate change.  A new paper by Andrew Dessler shows that this is just another in a long string of Roy’s faulty claims to prove that climate sensitivity is lower than previously thought.  The main problem in all of these attempts has been rampant abuse of statistics.  Typically, Roy would brush off such criticisms, relying on the statistical naïveté of his core audience and the media, and claim he is being persecuted by the “IPCC gatekeepers”.  In this case, one of Dessler’s figures shows very clearly how Spencer and his co-author Danny Braswell left out of their analysis all the data that didn’t fit with their hypothesis.  It’s so clear that even people who don’t know much about statistics can see the problem.  There is no running from this one–no claiming that Spencer is being persecuted–unless he wants us to believe he’s being persecuted by his own data.

In Roy Spencer’s recent book, The Great Global Warming Blunder, he portrayed himself as some kind of persecuted Galileo figure, boldly proclaiming the truth about climate sensitivity to a corrupt and oppressive Priesthood–i.e., his colleagues.  (Read my review of the book here.)

Ultimately I find enough evidence to virtually prove my theory, but now the research papers that I submit for publication are rejected outright….

The climate modelers and their supporters in government are largely in control of the research funding, which means that most government contracts and grants go toward these investigators who support the party line on global warming.  Sympathizers preside as editors overseeing what can and cannot be published in research journals.  Now they even rule over several of our professional societies, organizations that should be promoting scientific curiosity no matter where it leads.

In light of these developments, I have decided to take my message to the people.  This message is that mankind’s influence on climate is small and will continue to be small.  (Roy Spencer, The Great Global Warming Blunder, pp. xi-xii)

Here’s my favorite.

I find it difficult to believe that I am the first researcher to figure out what I describe in this book.  Either I am smarter than the rest of the world’s climate scientists–which seems unlikely–or there are other scientists who also have evidence that global warming could be mostly natural, but have been hiding it.  That is a serious charge, I know, but it is a conclusion that is difficult for me to avoid.  (Roy Spencer, The Great Global Warming Blunder, p. xxvii)

You can probably imagine how this kind of rhetoric goes over with the other scientists, who have patiently played Whack-A-Mole with Spencer’s steady stream of claims that he has blown the consensus view on climate change out of the water.

Here’s how it typically goes.

1. Spencer claims to show that standard climate models don’t reproduce some aspect of the data very well.

2. He then pulls out  a very simple 1-box climate model that he claims does reproduce the data well.  And invariably, this model incorporates a lower climate sensitivity than the standard models.

3. He writes it up, sends it in to a journal, and many times it is rejected.  Why is it rejected?  When one makes an argument that a given model is “good” or “bad” at reproducing some data, that argument is inherently statistical, and there are standard statistical methods that are used to determine how “good” or “bad” a model is at reproducing data.  Well, Roy pretty much just ignores the statistical methods, and sometimes even makes up his own.  For instance, I showed that some of the work he described in his book (which had been rejected from a reputable journal) was based on a made-up statistical method that could have given him any climate sensitivity he wanted, given that he was willing to allow his model parameters to stray into wildly unphysical territory.

4. If the paper gets rejected, Roy writes in a book or on his blog about the work, and claims he has once again been the victim of the “IPCC Gatekeepers,” who are in cahoots to keep any dissenting views out of the literature.  If the paper was not rejected, Spencer hits the media with claims that he has all but proven the consensus wrong, even if such strong claims were not made in the paper.

5. The other scientists sigh… or maybe utter a few choice expletives… and go to work taking apart the work.  They point out the flaws in Roy’s statistics, among other things.

6.  If Roy acknowledges the criticism at all, he usually dismisses the main points, relying on the statistical naïveté of his core audience.  For instance, amid pressure to respond to my criticisms of his book, he initially said that he didn’t have time to respond to it, and later said there were so many errors in my analysis that he didn’t know where to start.  As noted above, Spencer has a tendency to add charges of bias and even subterfuge to his dismissals.

7. The media may report on all this, but the coverage is mixed, because your average journalist doesn’t know enough about the subject to tell who is right.

Until today, everything was going pretty much according to schedule with regard to Roy Spencer’s and Danny Braswell’s latest paper, which they published a few weeks ago in Remote Sensing.

Spencer and Braswell used “lag regression analysis” (a statistical technique) on satellite data of changes in radiation flux and temperature over the last ten years.  With this technique, they showed that the observations exhibit a certain characteristic pattern, and then claimed to show that the standard climate models used by the IPCC are terrible at reproducing this characteristic pattern (see Fig. 1).

Fig. 1. This is Fig. 3a from Spencer and Braswell (2011). It is the results from their lag regression analysis of global satellite data. The details of the analysis are unimportant, except to note that the point of the figure is to show that the output from standard climate models does not match the oberved pattern very well.

Note how the average of the “3 least sensitive models” does a slightly better job at mimicking the real data than the average of the “3 most sensitive models”.  This refers to “climate sensitivity,” i.e., the equilibrium temperature change caused by a change in forcing equivalent to doubling the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere.  There you go–obviously the real climate must be far less sensitive to greenhouse gas additions than ANY of the climate models!  (S&B didn’t go quite that far, but this is how it was exaggerated in the media.)

Spencer and Braswell also used a variation of the “simple climate model” they have used in the past to show that they could reproduce the characteristic pattern in the data IF they assumed that random changes in cloud cover were forcing the system, rather than acting as a feedback in the system.  (I.e., clouds drive the climate, rather than responding to and in turn altering changes in climate due to other factors.)

With this stunning new evidence in hand, it appears they submitted their paper to Science magazine, the premiere science publication in the world.  Oh, it got rejected, but that’s not a big deal, because 1) Science rejects the vast majority of papers submitted, and 2) Roy Spencer had already predicted they might get rejected because the editors are biased against “skeptics”.

They then submitted their paper to Remote Sensing, an odd choice given that it’s a new journal that doesn’t publish much climate science, and isn’t indexed by the standard databases, yet.  This worked out well for them, at first, because it appears the editor handling the manuscript probably ended up just choosing the reviewers suggested by S&B.

After the paper came out in Remote Sensing, the University of Alabama at Huntsville did a press release that exaggerated a little how strong the paper’s claims were.  James Taylor (who works for the Heartland Institute and blogs for Forbes magazine) blogged that “New NASA Data Blow Gaping Hole in Global Warming Alarmism.” A minor media frenzy ensued when the story was picked up by Yahoo! News and Fox News.

Climatologists Kevin Trenberth and John Fasullo posted a short response to the paper on the RealClimate blog.  They showed that Spencer and Braswell had made a statistical blunder by failing to include error bars.  If you want to show that one data set is different than another, you have to perform statistical tests like this.  In this case, they pointed out that S&B were comparing a 10-year period in the data with a 100-year period in the models.  So they broke up the 100 years into 10-year periods, calculated error bars for the model response, and showed that now the data fell within the error bars.  What’s more, they showed that some of the models (not shown in S&B’s figure) actually did REALLY WELL at mimicking the data.  Which models did well?  The ones that were already known to do a good job of mimicking El Niño cycles, which is what dominated weather changes over the past decade.  Therefore, Trenberth and Fasullo concluded that the skill exhibited by the models in reproducing the pattern S&B identified had nothing to do with climate sensitivity.  They also pointed out that the “simple climate model” used by S&B to interpret their results was too simple to include the processes associated with El Niño cycles, and they pointed to my critique of Spencer for evidence that Spencer has a history of abusing simple climate models.

More news outlets picked up the story, reporting how the paper had been criticized, but also how Spencer disagreed with the criticism.  Stephanie Pappas at LiveScience reported that she couldn’t find any climate scientists who agreed with the paper.  Still, this wasn’t a game-changer, because Spencer could (and did!) claim his critics were getting it all wrong, and compared them to “the Empire” from Star Wars.  (Jedi Mind Trick:  “You don’t need to see any error bars.  Move along.”)

Things started unravelling a bit last week, when the editor of Remote Sensing announced that he was resigning to take responsibility for publishing S&B’s paper, which should not have been published because it failed to address prior criticisms of related work.  But once again, all Spencer had to do was claim that the “IPCC gatekeepers” must have put political pressure on the editor.

I don’t think the same old tactics will work so well this week, however, since Andrew Dessler has published a paper in Geophysical Research Letters critiquing Spencer and Braswell’s paper, as well as another one by Dick Lindzen.  (Here is a video where Dessler explains the main results of his paper.)  One of the most important criticisms is that S&B had to put unrealistic parameters into their simple climate model to get the answer they wanted–a familiar story.

But the most damning criticism has to do with Spencer and Braswell’s figure, shown above (Fig. 1).  Regarding this figure, Spencer and Braswell said,

While we computed results for 14 of the models archived, here will only present results for the three most sensitive models… and the three least sensitive models….  (Spencer and Braswell, 2011)

Why wouldn’t they report all their results?  As Trenberth and Fasullo had already pointed out, Spencer and Braswell were ignoring the models that simulate El Niño well, and some of these models do quite well at reproducing the satellite data.  Wait… Spencer and Braswell were ignoring some of the data for which they SAID they had performed their analysis?  People make mistakes, but it’s one thing to overlook some data that has been published somewhere out in the literature, and another to overlook data that you have analyzed yourself.

Dessler analyzed the same satellite radiation flux data, but used several different temperature data sets, and calculated error bars for the flux/temperature regressions.  He also compared the data to the results from 13 climate models, rather than just two sets of three, averaged together.  The resulting plot is shown in Fig. 2.  Here the red and blue lines are the combined radiation-temperature data, and the shaded areas are the error bars.  (The blue set is the one Spencer and Braswell reported.)  The black lines are the results from the 13 climate models, and the lines that have crosses on them are the ones Spencer and Braswell averaged together and plotted in Fig. 1.

Figure 2. From Dessler (2011), Fig. 2. This is the same as Spencer and Braswell's figure, shown in Fig. 1, except that 1) the satellite radiation flux data was regressed with several different temperature series (the blue line is the same as the data Spencer used, while the red lines use different temperature series), 2) error bars are calculated for the data (shaded areas), and the results from 13 individual climate models (black lines) are shown, rather than two sets of three averaged together. The models Spencer and Braswell used are represented as black lines with crosses.

Now, let’s think about the import of Figures 1 and 2.

First, as Dessler points out, some of the climate models do pretty well at simulating the satellite data.  Since the models do not drive the El Niño cycles via random cloud variations, Spencer and Braswell’s modeling effort (even if realistic parameters were used) doesn’t show anything about the cause of temperature variations.

Second, Dessler (2011) points out that Spencer and Braswell just happened to choose 1) the temperature series that causes the data in the figures to deviate the most from the models and 2) six of the models that deviate the most from the data.

Look at Figure 1.  Now look at Fig. 2.  Note that the blue data set in Fig. 2 is the one Spencer and Braswell used in Fig. 1.  Note where all six of the models plotted by Spencer and Braswell (black lines with crosses) lie in Fig. 2, compared with the seven models they… misplaced (plain black lines).

Now look again.

Roy Spencer has some explaining to do.  

When I critiqued Spencer’s book, and showed how he had used a bogus statistical technique that was capable of giving him any answer he wanted, I tried to come up with the most charitable interpretation I could.  It took me a while, but I figured out a way to explain Spencer’s method as a dumb mistake (we all make them), rather than conscious deception.  Well, I’ve been thinking about the figures above, trying to come up with another explanation… and I’m drawing a blank.

Are we supposed to believe that Spencer ran the analysis of all 14 models, and then decided he would only look at six of them?  Sorry, but I’m not buying.  The only thing I can think of to soften the blow is that I can’t imagine Roy saying he analyzed all 14 datasets, knowing that someone else would inevitably come along and reanalyze the data and see what he had left out of his figures.  If his intent were to deceive, he would just have to claim he only analyzed the six models, and give a mea culpa when it came out that the others undercut his claims.

We’ll have to see what Spencer comes up with for an explanation, if he even bothers to acknowledge the problem.  But for now, there’s no use crying “Persecution!” unless Roy wants to imagine that he’s being persecuted by his own data.  No matter how Vader-esque his opponents, Roy Spencer has some explaining to do.

Update 1:  Ben Santer e-mailed me this comment about my post.

There are multiple ways in which Roy is being persecuted by his own data. As our new JGR paper indicates, even UAH-based estimates of lower tropospheric temperature temperature change now have a signal-to-noise ratio approaching 4. This is a little ironic. For well over a decade, Roy Spencer and John Christy were claiming that their estimate of global-scale changes in lower tropospheric temperature – which showed little or no warming – was the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Now the UAH-inferred warming over the satellite era is now nearly four times larger than our current best estimates of natural climate variability on the 32-year timescale. I doubt whether Roy Spencer and John Christy will make mention of this result in upcoming press releases…

Update 2:  Here are links to other takes on this story from Skeptical Science, Greg Laden, Brian AnglissScott Mandia, Bob Ward, Scientific American, and Gavin Schmidt.

Update 3:  Where I linked to Dessler’s paper above, it just goes to the abstract.  To download the whole paper you have to have a subscription.  Here is a pre-print version of the paper on Dessler’s university’s website.


Responses

  1. [...] in Climate Change, Roy Spencer « Why Romney and Huntsman Aren’t Anti-Science Roy Spencer Persecuted By Own Data [...]

  2. Great to see Steve Mc use Dessler 2011 to show negative feedback in Dessler 2010. Me thinks this one ain’t over just yet. Should the editor of GRL be preparing a resignation letter?

    http://climateaudit.org/2011/09/06/the-stone-in-trenberths-shoe/#more-14521

    • Steve’s arguments are weak.

      1. He reproduces Dessler’s stats, but complains the R^2 value is low. Well of course it is, because the slope is near zero. But Dessler did the right thing and calculated a 95% confidence interval. It is what it is.

      2. He faults Dessler for complaining about Spencer and Braswell only using HadCRUT3, when Dessler had also used HadCRUT3. But what he doesn’t show is that it made any difference for Dessler’s analysis. In any case, I wouldn’t be so suspicious if this were the only problem with S&B, because they didn’t claim to analyze any other temperature series. They DID claim to analyze all 14 models, and **forgot** to report the results.

      3. Finally, he shows that you can get a different slope by changing the lag time. But since Dessler and S&B had both said this in their papers, I’m not really impressed.

  3. MarcH,

    Don’t count your chickens yet– but it seems that you have.

    Let me see, mineral prospector versus climate scientists–I choose climate scientist. McI really is stretching it here and trying to speak to something that is well beyond his area of expertise. Desperate times for deniers and those who fed them fodder– a mineral prospector coming to the ‘rescue’ of Spencer. All you guys have now are propaganda, conspiracy theories and misinformation and other juvenile games. Sadly this is not a game.

    • I don’t find the times for “deniers” despearate at all…

      The politics of AGW is pretty solidly in the anti camp at present. The economic realities of today seem bent on preserving that and I think any serious move to the contrary is going to get swift shrift from the normally blind and ignorant electorate. The desire to not do anything to piss off too many people, for them to “blame” when things get worse, will keep most of the Congress critters away it seems.

      The impossibility of actually implementing the invented schemes and the turn abouts occuring in the nations that have tried don’t bode well for the long term endurance of such if they do manage to pass the slimy halls of Congress.

      Now, fighting within the acedemic establishment, you may well have a point. That’s not nearly so important, but if you consider losing there that bad, “desperate” may be accurate. I find this particular spat to be more about institutional integrity than actual effective lobbying. Though I also believe that the direction of these efforts at solidarity are tearing down that institutional integrity rather than building it up.

      • Yes, I was talking about the academic angle. A scandal like that could be really bad for a journal, when the junk paper was hyped out of all proportion in the media.

      • I find it refreshing if mistakes are made against the grain. It’s indicative effort that I sometimes find hard to see.

        Though the reactions to that mistake… Those just make my instincts scream that the scientific publishing process is a lot more political than many want to admit…

      • There wouldn’t have been such a strong reaction if:

        1. Spencer hadn’t constantly accused all the rest of the scientists of quashing his brilliance because of their bias and corruption,

        2. Spencer hadn’t encouraged the media to blow his paper out of proportion,

        3. the paper weren’t demonstrably and obviously wrong.

      • Arrogance in science is hardly unique to Spencer.

        The media routinely makes mountains out of molehills and vice versa.

        And there are so many other bad papers…

        *shrug*, still smacks of a political publishing process.

  4. [...] Roy Spencer Persecuted By Own Data – Barry Bickmore [...]

  5. Nice summary Barry. There’s no question Dessler has caught Spencer cherrypicking red-handed. Spencer could use the excuse that he was trying to test climate sensitivity (hence choosing the 6 models with highest and lowest sensitivities). But why choose 6? Why not break it up into 7 highest and 7 lowest sensitivities? Excluding the other 8 models is hard to justify, especially when several of them just happened to model the data quite accurately.

    Of course that’s just one of the several major errors Dessler found in both Spencer and Lindzen’s papers. I’ve got another post soon to be published which discusses several of the other errors.

    http://skepticalscience.com/dessler-2011-rebuttal-revisions.html

    Bottom line, it’s easy to see why the journal editor resigned. Spencer’s paper should not have been published without some major revisions to hash out these fundamental flaws.

    • That’s what I don’t get. I could see it if they chose the six models from the beginning, but they said they analyzed all 14. Didn’t they look at the results of the other 8? If they did (and I can’t see why they wouldn’t have), wouldn’t they have seen those models that did a better job?

      • They did indeed. Here’s the quote from their paper:

        “While we computed results for 14 of the models archived, here will present results for only the 3 most sensitive models (MIROC3.2-hires; IPSL-CM4; MIROC3.2-medres), and the 3 least sensitive models (FGOALS; NCAR PCM1; GISS-ER),”

        They don’t explain why they’re only presenting results from those 6, so we can only speculate. My personal speculation is that Spencer wanted to find a disparity between models and data. Some models didn’t match the data well, including the 3 highest and lowest sensitivity models, so he used that coincidence as an excuse just to show those six. If somebody caught him at it, he could say he was just trying to conduct a climate sensitivity test.

        Frankly that excuse doesn’t make sense because even if you’re trying to do a sensitivity test, you should certainly include the models that fit the data best, and look at their sensitivities too. Maybe the correct sensitivity isn’t the highest or the lowest, but somewhere in between. Why only look at the highest and lowest?

        It’s hard to come up with an explanation that doesn’t involve Spencer deliberately concealing inconvenient data. Regardless of his motives, it’s bad science, but it really seems like *deliberately* bad science.

    • I find it odd that publishing a paper with errors, even major ones, should result in the resignation of the chief editor. Everyone would be replacing editors left and right…

      Sounds rather vindictive to me.

      • Well, it would be “vindictive” if the editor had been forced out, but there’s no evidence that’s the case. I even had an e-mail conversation with the guy–he seems sincere. Honestly, I think he’s just trying to save his fledgling journal from a reputation for publishing any crap that’s submitted.

      • I was specifically referring to the attitude of dana1981.

        “it’s easy to see why the journal editor resigned”

        I don’t find it so easy, this isn’t the standard practice of journals. I don’t know his actual motives and don’t pretend to. I do find it quite curious though.

        Perhaps reputation is simply that important in journal land. But that seems like another potential source of bias, but maybe that’s a good bias.. Hard to argue against having some integrity. The economics of scientific journals, maybe I’ll spend some time looking into that. Is 2-3 years history considered “fledgling” ?

      • Yes, it is considered “fledgling”. Journals that young haven’t made it into literature databases like ISI, which try to exclude junk journals that only pretend to be “peer reviewed”. So a new journal can’t afford to miss that boat.

      • Gotcha

      • Staring at screen. Still don’t get the joke. ;-)

      • Just because something isn’t standard practice doesn’t mean it’s not easy to understand.

        Remote Sensing made a number of mistakes here. First, even accepting a paper outside of the journal’s expertise was a mistake. Then they likely accepted Spencer’s suggested peer reviewers – mistake #2, since those reviewers did an exceptionally poor job and were likely biased. Then the journal published the paper despite the fact that it contained numerous major (and minor) errors.

        Considering these major mistakes made/allowed by the editor, I think it’s easy to see why he resigned. That it’s not “standard practice” is beside the point. He acknowledged that he had done his job poorly, and he quit. I find it refreshing that he was willing to both admit his mistakes and assume responsibility for them.

      • Ugh, sorry.

        I meant “Gotcha” as in “I understand”. I realized how it might be miscontrued after I hit post. I failed in translating Brandonese to written form.

      • It doesn’t look outside of the journal’s expertise… Remote Sensing, satelites (wow, it’s in their logo!), climate (other climate papers are published there as well). Seems like a reasonable fit to me. [sarcasm]Oh wait, it’s a skeptical paper! No peer review journal should even be sniffing that! It’s out of scope for EVERYONE. I get it now. [/sarcasm]

        So if reviewers do a poor job it invalidates the paper. Could it be you have a process problem in peer review science? What if all reviewers do a poor job, and you only caught this one cause you don’t like it and it received extra post-publication criticism and attention? *shock and horror* And guys like you wonder why I put a big question mark on the whole thing…

        So, he “did his job poorly” and now he must commit seppuku but no actual transgressions are cited anywhere I can find. His only crime was not realizing how terribly against the grain the paper was. His crime was political. He even went the extra mile to state everything was done in accordance to procedure. You don’t fire men over procedural issues, you change your process and procedures and teach the corrected ones. Resigning doesn’t help this issue in the slightest and only serves in an attempt to redirect attention unduely.

      • Hi Brandon,

        I don’t think it was necessary for Wagner to resign, but I think he felt he had to, given the big media bubble the paper had caused. I am an Associate Editor for two journals, and I can totally imagine how something like this might have happened.

        I think Remote Sensing is off-topic, though. A journal like that might publish an article about how to use a satellite to extract some kind of data, but it probably wouldn’t normally publish a paper where they simply use remotely sensed data to evaluate climate models. That’s a very specialized topic! However, it’s a new journal, so they have probably been in the process of trying to define what their scope is, so maybe this was sort of a borderline case.

  6. Time to start playing whack-a-mole again Barry. Spencer seems determined to misunderstand Dessler (2011) and evade the critique directed at him. For example, he is still feigning “confusion” as to why it was a frowned upon that he left out those models which best simulated the ENSO cycle, and he is still harping on about climate sensitivity, when that is not the point and not the criterion that one should have been used to identify the “best” models for these data and the study period in question. He also does not explain why he selected those observations which further exaggerated the difference between observations and models.

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2011/09/the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-my-initial-comments-on-the-new-dessler-2011-study/

    Perhaps he should have taken more time to think carefully before he started typing his latest post….really, if this post marks the building blocks of his paper it is not going to make it through review, because from the very outset his reasoning is wrong.

    I’m sure his fan base and apologists for his scientific misconduct will be awed by his “brilliant” defense though.

    • Yes, ironically Spencer put his discussion about excluding 8 of the model runs in his section called “The Ugly”….but the “ugly” supposedly isn’t his cherrypicking, it’s that Dessler pointed out his cherrypicking. How dare he!?!? Spencer still fails to explain why he excluded those 8 model runs. His only excuse is that on average, the models don’t replicate the satellite data well.

      And of course he’s still blabbering about climate sensitivity, failing to grasp the main point that he’s not testing sensitivity in his paper, he’s testing ability to model ENSO. A one-track mind.

      • Dear Dana 1981,

        I was disappointed to to see your remarks about Roy Spencer “blabbering”, perhaps a slip and an oversight, as I do not believe you would intentionally use the basic prescription which perhaps demonstrates best, the very good correlation between people being basically rude and holding an unassailable belief in AGW, such as found for example on John Cook’s Skeptical Science. I don’t blame you nor criticise you for that, but would simply remind you that this blog has been remarkable for the civil exchanges between people of different views which is like a breath of fresh air.

        Would it not be better to attack the scientific aspects of Spencer’s work since I believe from your remarks that you would be capable of doing that and more importantly showing that there is another piece of emprical evidence besides the ubiquitous theoretical models, which demonstrate so “clearly” that increased carbon dioxide will cause and Enhanced Green House Effect – not just the green house effect to which it contributes already much to our satisfaction.

        Without CO2, the world would still be much warmer than 255 K – probably 279 K perhaps, because it has an atmosphere and water vapour. It may even be much warmer since carbon dioxide is the only gas which contributes to cooling by radiation from the air above the cloud level. Of course without CO2 there would be no life on earth so it wouldn’t matter what the temperature was!

        The continuous use of the words “cherry picking” by so many people becomes very boring, as I am also sure you woulkd agree and is quite meaningless, particularly in this case where Spencer is not selecting data from a set which suits his purpose. (I note that you are only repeating the words of others so am not accusing you of being rude or repeating these dumb words.)

        Spencer has very openly described his techniques which includes determining a set of values which are “consistent” across a dats set – not “cherry picked” or chosen. (cf Michael Mann and the Hockey Stick!! and Phil Jones at UEA CRU as exposed by the emails!) OK, people don’t like anyone providing results which may question the IPCC, which selects 23 plausible – their words in IPCC AR4 2007 – models because they all show warming as opposed to the “implausible” which didn’t!!! Don’t talk about CHERRY PICKING.

        The statements are clear in Chapters 9 and 10 and the errors and uncertainties, indicated there, are horrendous. They admit that NO features of the climate are accurately determined by the models – precipitation, clouds, circulation, convection …. excepting, wait for it, they have confidence in the one main parameter – global temperatures.

        Except that the models appear to have come unstuck and the world is no longer warming even though carbon dioxide increases at an ever faster rate thanks to our developing nations, India and China – and good luck to them.

        Spencer is not “blabbering on”. What he is saying is that his work indicates that the PDOI accounts for a very large proportion of the warming over the “second half of the twentieth century” as the IPCC refers to the warming from 1979 to 1998.

        The point about Spencer’s work which seems to have been missed by his critics, is that there is most likely another possible cause of this warming. Any scientist worth his salt will, instead of immediately trying to put Spencer down, try to carry out a similar analysis and compare his/her results with Spencer’s. This is how science progresses – not by trying to tear down the person who points out that there are other possibilities to one’s own ideas.

        Sure, Spencer may be wrong, but just tearing into his method and his presentation is NOT the way to proceed or to earn the respect of other credible scientists, with the emphasis here on the word credible. At least Spencers work relates variations in the PDOI to BOTH positive and negative change in warming.

        The chosen correlation between CO2 and warming – the ONLY correlation which they make a claim for, by the IPCC from 1979 to 1998 was a period of monotonic increases in both variables – not a very convincing correleation.

        For this reason they refuse to look at the global temperature prior to this time because it involves both cooling and warming and definitely not a good correlation with the still continuously increasing CO2! The last few years are a reaL worry for them as indicated in the CRU emails recently released.

        Sure Spencer may be wrong. But as a good scientist, he has excluded those 8 models because they were not capable of providing results which fitted the known data. This is what an experimentalist does – looks for consistency between theory and experiment -m would that the IPCC would take a leaf out of his book.

        Instead, the IPCC makes “predictions” for 100 years from now, from models, which on its own admission, cannot yet reproduce the data from the past such as reproducing 2010 climates across the world, from the known state in 1930. This is their own admission in 2007!

        They are working in the dark from a purely theoretical basis when the theory they are using is, again on their own admission, incapable of reproducing measured data – oh, sorry, except for the global warming bit!!

        Dessler’s critique came out too fast to be credible. He should have reworked Spencer’s process to check out whether he can show that the results are right or wrong. But that may be dangerous. What if he obtained the same values as Spencer!. Cheers, John N

  7. [...] my last post, I gave some of the details of Andrew Dessler’s latest paper, which criticizes a recent paper [...]

  8. [...] Roy Spencer Persecuted By Own Data- Barry Bickmore. [...]

  9. [...] somewhere. The WSJ authors give a couple examples, both of which are ridiculous, but I have personal experience with the Remote Sensing article by Spencer and Braswell, so I’ll address that one.  The [...]

  10. [...] WSJ authors give a couple examples, both of which are ridiculous, but I have personal experience with the Remote Sensing article by Spencer and Braswell, so I’ll address that one. The fact [...]

  11. [...] WSJ authors give a couple examples, both of which are ridiculous, but I have personal experience with the Remote Sensing article by Spencer and Braswell, so I’ll address that one. The fact is [...]

  12. [...] http://geotest.tamu.edu/userfiles/216/Dessler2011.pdf http://bbickmore.wordpress.com/2011/09/06/roy-spencer-persecuted-by-own-data/ [...]

  13. [...] decrease in snowfall in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Ok.  But what happened next has become a familiar story.  Christy went to the media with a press release claiming that his study proves that standard [...]

  14. [...] of them are pretty much constantly caught for their false claims, misleading interpretations, or neglected data, by other researchers in the field. Amusingly, these particular skeptics have a strong tendency [...]

  15. [...] For comparison, below is SB2011 Figure 3a (which Dessler reproduced), from Barry Bickmore’s post on this subject: [...]

  16. […] Roy Spencer Persecuted By Own Data | Climate Asylum […]


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