2012-01-20 16:30:24Patrick Michaels Continues to Distort Hansen 1988
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.102.70

Title pretty much says it all.

2012-01-20 19:04:27
MarkR
Mark Richardson
m.t.richardson2@gmail...
134.225.187.225

Great work Dana.

 

I wonder a bit about the end where you talk about 3.6 C still being above the IPCC average. The error bars on radiative forcing estimates are way too big to give us much confidence over whether this model can say it's above or below the IPCC main estimate. I'd be more comfortable if you could get across some of that uncertainty.

 

EDIT: Michaels misled congress, not mislead ;)

 

EDIT2: I'd also be tempted to put some bigger labels on the graphs. With the bar chart, for example, I'd highlight the left 3 as 'OPTIONS HANSEN PROVIDED IN '88', the right-most as 'WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED '88-'98' and the left-most as 'WHAT MICHAELS TOLD CONGRESS ACTUALLY HAPPENED '88-'98'

Maybe not that exact wording, but it hammers home the point.

2012-01-20 22:00:10
Tom Curtis

t.r.curtis@gmail...
112.213.206.248

In addition to the Montreal Protocol, it may be worthwhile mentioning the tearing down of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and the collapse of the Soviet Union, events which led to a large reduction in CO2 emissions from Soviet block nations which Hansen could not have anticipated.  There are reasons why actual developments run closer to Scenario B than A, and reasons Hansen did not pretend to be able to anticipate the course of human history by developing just one Scenario.

2012-01-21 03:01:31
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Thanks guys, good comments.  I've revised to say 3.6°C is close to the IPCC central estimate, included a brief discussion of Soviet Union and Berlin Wall collapses contributing to lower CO2 emissions (near Scenario C), and fixed the 'mislead' typo.  I like the suggestions for labels on the figure, except I'm worried it might get too cluttered.  I'll play with it and see if I can make it work tonight.

2012-01-21 03:22:48
Kevin C

cowtan@ysbl.york.ac...
94.6.226.89

If you want a citation to support your definition of the term 'projection', the IPCC TAR glossary does so nicely.

e.g. here

I think it's very good, but could perhaps do with trimming down a bit. Having the summary at the end is good, but it felt to me as though it was rubbing salt in the wound. However, I am generally a poor judge of tone and how things will be received, so don't give too much weight to that opinion.

2012-01-21 03:31:15
KR

k-ryan@comcast...
216.185.0.2

"from someone posing as a climate expert" might be more diplomatically phrased as "from someone claiming to be a climate expert" - less accusative, but quite accurate.

I would not link to WUWT directly.

2012-01-21 03:31:26
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Honestly given that Michaels is still trying to defend his Hansen deletions 14 years after the fact, after the error has been pointed out to him numerous times, and Watts continues to publish his lies, I think a little salt is warranted ;-)

I'd kind of like to trim Figure 2 and the prior discussion.  I don't think it adds much - I only put it in to avoid the baseline criticisms from the usual suspects.  But screw those guys anyway, zeroing at 1988 makes sense here.  Anybody object to deleting that part?

KR - I added a rel=nofollow to the Watts link.  I think it's important to note that Watts keeps posting Michaels' lies.  Since nobody reads WCR, the WUWT re-posts are critical for spreading Michaels' distortions to a wider audience.

2012-01-21 03:43:20
Kevin C

cowtan@ysbl.york.ac...
94.6.226.89

Agree on figure 2. You could add a parenthesis allong the lines:

(Zeroing the forcings in 1958, the year in which Hansen's model runs were initialised, also leads to the conclusion that Scenarios B or C provide a better prediction of the actual forcings than Scenario A, with the details depending on whether the aerosol term is included.)

2012-01-21 04:13:39
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Yeah I could certainly include a brief summary of what happens with zeroing in 1958, and the reason behind the GHG and anthro divergences (aerosols), without including the longer discussion and Figure 2.

2012-01-21 04:30:51Schmidt comments
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Some comments from Gavin via email:

Not too bad. I would stress more the uncertainty in the aerosol component. Also, though this is an extra confusion, the concept of effective forcing is useful for including some of the indirect effects that some accountings might include explicitly. 
Finally, drop the line demanding the deniers stop using michaels stuff. We know they won't, so reframe this as another reason that they diminish their credibility. 
Good suggestions I think.  Not sure about the effective forcings suggestion - seems like it would overcomplicate the discussion.
2012-01-21 07:22:29
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
23.17.186.57

Dana looks good,

Some scomments/suggestions etc.

1)You say "Michaels claim that Hansen's Scenario A projection was "the model prediction" was wrong.  It was one of the model predictions, based on an emissions scenario which did not occur."

I would suggest "Michaels claim that Hansen's Scenario A projection was "the model prediction" was wrong.  It was one of the model predictions, based on a worst case  emissions scenario which did not come to pass."

 

2) "A forcing runs higher than in B and C prior to 1988 because it also includes what Hansen called "speculative" forcings from GHGs like ozone and CFCs, whose emissions were not yet well documented in 1988)."

Scen A also did not inlcude volcanoes IIRC, whereas Scen B and C did.

 

3) "Currently, Scenario B is closest to the actual forcing, according to Skeie et al., but running about 16% too high (since 1988).  Figure 4 reproduces Hansen's Scenario B with a 16% reduction in the warming trend, to crudely correct for the discrepancy between it and the actual radiative forcing."

I honestly do not like this. The key interval of interest here is 1988-1998, so I strongly suggest that we focus on that.  Reducing Scen B by 16% honestly does not sit well with me-- I know what you are driving at, but IMHO it is not the way to go.  It would be my strong suggestion to show what Michaels should have shown in 1998-- that is the focus of this whole discussion and is what is at issue here, so let us not distract readers (and distrasct from our primary argument ) by discussing peripheral issues.  Going beyond 1998 just potentially opens up a can of worms and takes the punch out of your post.

Remember , Michaels is on the record saying that thes eprojections are "useless", and I'm afraid what happened between 1988-1998 supports that opinion to a degree.  There will be many unforseen changes down the road that we will not anticipate-- now in this case they were to lowere GHG emisssions/forcing, but of course uncertianty cuts both ways. As a case in point right now we are proceeding close to the worst case scenario A1F1 no?

 

4) "..and thus there is no urgency to reduce those emissions."

How about "and thus there is no urgency to reduce those emissions or even reduce them at all". IIRC, Michaels believes we do not need to reduce emissions.

 

5) "delete data which would suggest that climate sensitivity is not low"

He also ignores those data/papers that do not support low climate sensitivity.

 

6) "However, as noted above, Hansen's model overpredicted the ensuing global warming thus far by approximately 15%.  Thus if we estimate that the sensitivity of his model was 15% too high (which is an oversimplification, but will give us a reasonably accurate back-of-the-envelope estimate), this suggests the actual climate sensitivity is approximately 3.6°C for doubled CO2, which is close to the IPCC best estimate of 3°C."

 

This might have to change if you adopt my suggestion #3.  Also, did you not do a post in which you estimated the "correct" sensitivity using the Hansen case?  Either way, this makes me nervous-- it is in-house estimates that might not stand up to closer scrutiny.  The fact is that the older generation model they used had a sensitivity that was too high. One could explain here why we now know why that was the case and leave it at that.

 

7) "Michaels made a number of other errors in his response post, including claiming that we at Skeptical Science "try to obliterate evidence which paints a less than alarming picture of our climate future."  This is classic psychological projection - in our presentations of Hansen 1988, Schmittner 2011, and Gillet 2012, we provided a thorough analysis of all aspects of each paper, without "obliterating" any evidence, contrary to Michaels, who deleted inconvenient data from each in order to present a very distorted picture of the results of each research paper."

I think this needs a little re-working.  First, his cliam is not only projection but wrong.  The mission statement stated on the SkS page is:

"Skeptics vigorously criticise any evidence that supports man-made global warming and yet embrace any argument, op-ed, blog or study that refutes global warming. This website gets skeptical about global warming skepticism."

So he is also misrepresenting SkS's mission statement. 

Re "contrary to Michaels, who deleted inconvenient data from each in order to present a very distorted picture of the results of each research paper."  it is also important to note that not only did they doctor the graphics, they also ignored key caveats and limitations noted by the authors.

 

Please draw attention to the first line of his denial:

"When the battle is being lost, there is a tendency to try to raise a level of distraction to shift the attention away from the desperate situation at hand."

More projectiion more Michaels and that applies to the 'skeptics" or him and not us.  He is trying to invert reality.

 

8) I would consider including this statement by Michaels:

"One of the main points that I was making in my 1998 testimony was that observations indicated that the global temperature were rising much less than Hansen had forecast under BAU, which is what happened."

No, that is not what happened, that worst case scenario simply did not happen.  This is the key point, so if you can inlcude that it would be killer, b/c it just goes to show how wrong he is, even to this day.

 

Yet just before that he claims:

"The only change to BAU that took place in the 1988 to 1998 time period was the Montreal Protocol limiting the emissions of CFCs. Reductions in production began only in 1994 and the radiative effect of the Protocol by 1998 was infinitesimal."

This needs to be addressed, b/c he does acknowledge the reductions of CFCs, he just downplays it.  The reductions in CFC forcing were small, but hardly "infinitesimal".

 

9) "Each of these research teams reported rather lowish estimates of the climate sensitivity."

Wow, how specific.  Gillett et al was a TCR paper, not a climate sensitivity paper.  And as I have enoted several times now, the TCR of the 18 models in AR4 is 1.65 C which lies in the intervale determined using the 1850-2010 data by Gillett et al. And those nine models having a TCR in the lower range found by Gillett for 1850-2010, have a EQS of near 2.8 C (sigma=0.45 C).  So contrary to his claim, Gillett does not necessarily support a lower EQS. As I noted to Chip yesterday, it is telling that they have not reported on recent papert hat point to EQS conssistent with the range reported in AR4 (e.g., Park and Royer (2011), Pagani et al. (2010), Previdi et al. (2011), Kiehl (2011)).

 

10) "Rather than wasting his efforts coming up with faulty excuses to defend his indefensible behavior and lashing out at those who have called him on it,"

Maybe "Rather than wasting his efforts coming up with faulty excuses to defend his indefensible behavior and lashing out at those who have called him on it, and in the process making more demonstrably false claims..." or repalce "demonstrably false claims" with "fallacious claims".

 

 

2012-01-21 07:54:26
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Thanks Alby, good comments.  Regarding #3 and #6, this isn't just going to be a response to Michaels post, it's also going to be an upate to 'Hansen 1988 was wrong'.  That's where I did a similar climate sensitivity estimate, and got roughly the same answer (3.4 vs. 3.6).  Gavin Schmidt has also done a similar calculation, and gave this post a thumbs-up, so there shouldn't be any problem with it.

I don't just want to focus on why Michaels was wrong, because yeah, he's a twat, nothing new there.  What's interesting is looking at all of what we can learn by taking an honest and throrough look at Hansen's actual research.  That's the difference between SkS and deniers - they only look at the convenient bits, but we look at the totality of the research.  And what the research says about climate sensitivity is a pretty important point.

2012-01-21 08:10:26
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
23.17.186.57

Hi Dana,

To be honest I think it is still spreading yourself too thin and it weakens your overall argument-- how Michaels continues to diostort Hanesen et al. 1988. 

If you really want to push those aspects, one option would be to have a two parter and link to the second in the first.  I am uncomfortable with reducing forcing by 16%, it xan come across as being rather arbitrary and forcing the data to tell you what you want.  I am deeply concerned that is will cause you and SkS nothing but headaches.

But that is just my humble opinion, I'd like to hear what others think.

2012-01-21 08:21:21
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

I don't see how it can be viewed as arbitrary - there's a 16% difference between Hansen B and Skeie over the timeframe in question.

I view this post not only as "Michaels' analysis was wrong" but also "here's how you do it right."

2012-01-21 09:30:52
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
23.17.186.57

Hi Dana,

I'm not making myself clear, it can come across as being arbitrary. Also, what was the mean differenc eacross all years, or between 1998 and 2010?  If I read correctly, you are saying that currently Scen B is 16% higher than Skeie et al's estimate for 2010.

But my main concern is that discussing the related/peripheral issues detracts from your slamdunk at nailing him for lying again.  As I said, you could still do that but in part two.  Part 2 could start withh.  "In part one we demonstrated......, here we will look in more detail at...."

Sorry, this is all probably coming across as pushy and argumentative form myy side, that woudl be my fault for being in a bad mood today.

Hopefully more people chime in on this....

2012-01-21 10:50:04
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

The net change in forcing from 1988 to 2010 in the two differ by 16%, with Scenario B being the larger net forcing.

I'll think about breaking it up into two, but I think I'd prefer to keep it as one.  Other input would be appreciated though.

2012-01-21 22:08:11
MarkR
Mark Richardson
m.t.richardson2@gmail...
134.225.187.225

I think 'what Michaels told Congress happened' might actually be better than 'what Michaels said'.

Also, when you compare observations with the model run, have you double checked the baseline? I need to check with Hansen, but I read the paper and the model doesn't include proper ENSO features etc (even now some models struggle with that, I doubt an '88 model would do better!)

So if the observations start date is during or soon after an El Nino, then the observations are artificially shifted up. If they start with a La Nina they're artifiically shifted down.

Controlling for this, perhaps by trying to zero obs versus model at the actual zero time, or by picking an ENSO neutral period, or by using Foster & Rahmstorf to decide on the shift or using their adjusted data might work better.

2012-01-22 03:23:12
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.102.70
Mark - I just used a 5-year period around 1988 as the baseline. However, I like the idea of using F&R, since Hansen's forcings don't include solar or ENSO or volcanic (he does simulate a couple volcanic eruptions, but I think they're towards the middle of the 1988-2010 period). Anyway, I'll look at that and see if I can make it work.
2012-01-22 04:48:39
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
98.122.98.161

Dana,

The last sentnce of the first pragraph now reads:

"However, his excuses for deleting Hansen's Scenarios B and C are based on erroneous assumptions, and in the end, his presentation to Congress remains a distortion of Hansen's actual results."

Sugested rewrite:

"However, his excuses for deleting Hansen's Scenarios B and C are based on erroneous assumptions as detailed below. Consequently, his presentation to Congress remains a distortion of Hansen's actual results."

2012-01-22 04:58:55
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
98.122.98.161

Dana,

The first sentence of the thrid paragraph in the Montreal Protocl section now reads:

"Additionally, there were some events between 1988 and 1998 which resulted in reduced CO2 emissions, such as the collapse of the Soviet Union and the tearing down of the Berlin Wall." 

Suggested rewrite:

"In addition, worldwide events between 1988 and 1998, such as the collapse of the Soviet Union, resulted in reduced global C02 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels." 
2012-01-22 05:05:28
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.102.70

Will do, John.

The post has actually gotten rather long (2300+ words), so splitting it up into two might not be a bad idea.

The links above are the updated versions, now split into two posts.

2012-01-22 12:02:34
logicman

logicman_alf@yahoo.co...
86.180.177.149

On part 1:

Climate scientists cannot predict how human greenhouse gas emissions will change in the future, which is a question for the public and policymakers.  For example, we cannot expect Hansen to have predicted the Soviet Union collapse, or how successful the Montreal Protocol would be.  All climate scientists can do is predict, given a certain emissions scenario, how much the climate will warm in response.  This is a projection.

suggested revision:

All climate scientists can do is project the continued climate effects of a given emissions scenario.

 

Michaels claim that Hansen's Scenario A projection was "the model prediction" was wrong.  It was one of the model predictions

suggested alternative:

Michaels' claim that Hansen's Scenario A projection was "the model prediction" was not just wrong.  The use of 'the' as against 'a' is not just a grammatical error: it subtly amplifies the way in which the doctored graphic implies that Hansen made only one projection. Hansen made three projections, but Michaels chose to present as his evidence the one model prediction - based on a worst case emissions scenario - which was least successful in projecting the actual warming.

 

If only one of Hansen's emissions scenarios were to presented as the model prediction, it must be the scenario most representative of actual real-world emissions.

suggestion:

If only one of Hansen's emissions scenarios were to be presented as the model prediction, it should have been the scenario most representative of actual real-world emissions up to the time of Michaels' testmony to Congress.

 

part 2:

In Part 2, we'll examine what Michaels' presentation to Congress should have looked like,

Here in Part 2, we examine what Michaels' presentation to Congress should have looked like,

The future is tense enough, thanks. ;-)

 

Michaels made a number of major errors in response to the Skeptical Science post criticizing his repeated deletions of inconvenient data.  He claimed that

Where did he do this?  Citation, please - the Chip Knappenberger fabulational elucidation at SkS doesn't count.

 

This is not the type of behavior we should expect from someone claiming to be a climate expert.

suggestion:

This is not the type of behavior we should expect from someone presenting himself to the U.S. Congress as a climate expert.

2012-01-22 16:24:54logicman's changes
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.102.70

Changes made.

2012-01-22 20:54:53
Tom Curtis

t.r.curtis@gmail...
112.213.206.248

Part 1:

There is no reason to handle Michaels with kid gloves.  He perjured himself in front of Congress quite deliberately.  For legal reasons we cannot come out and say that, not because he could successfully sue us, but be because he could successfully use the commencement of a suite to impose crippling costs on John and SkS.  However, we can and should use far stronger language than has been used in a number of places.  In particular:

"... touched upon the a point in which caused him to go he is very, very wrong."

There was no caused about it.  He could not just check the Mauna Loa data to see the assumption of exponential growth had not held for CO2?  That is the minimum condition for scientific integrity in Michaels claims, ie, that if he was going to use a single projection as the prediction, then he should have checked available data to ensure that the projected forcings where in fact matching actual forcings.  Even the most minimal such check of the Mauna Loa data would have shown that CO2 levels had not risen exponentially since 1988, and hence that scenario A was not in fact closest to reality.  That fact alone shows him at the minimum to have been guilty of gross negligence, and (as it is difficult to imagine a scientist that incompetent) probably deliberate scientific fraud.

"... where his "BAU" assumption went wrong was false:"

"Wrong" suggests an error.  It was not an error, but a lie.  Therefore we should not suggest that it was an error in our choice of words, even if we cannot outright state the truth of the matter.

Likewise:

"... therefore the entire asserted basis of Michaels' self-defense for deleting Scenarios B and C is wrong false."

"Michaels claim that Hansen's Scenario A projection was "the model prediction" was wrong false."

"Michaels was wrong to assume false assertion that emissions had continued on a business as usual path is without basis ..."

On a similar basis, it is worthwhile pointing out that the discrepancy between Michaels assertions about forcings and the actual data was easilly checkable using Mauna Loa data.  It is further worthwhile pointing out the ease with which his assertions could have been checked before repetition on WUWT this year, with just a single click of a mouse.  In that regard, a mentioning that exponential growth (as in scenario A) is the same as a constant percentage growth.  The data from the final table can then be presented (possibly in summary), showing that the average percentage growth in AGGI from 1979 to 1988 was 2.28% (arithmetic mean, which is probably not the most appropriate), while that from 1988-1998 was 1.39% (arithmetic mean, again).

 

Part 2:

Recommended that the following sentence be changed as indicated to avoid using the assumption most favourable to our case:

 

"Thus if we estimate that the sensitivity of his model was 15%25% too high (which is an oversimplification, but will give us a reasonably accurate back-of-the-envelopeconservative estimate), this suggests the actual climate sensitivity is approximately 3.4 to 3.6°C3.15ofor doubled CO2, which is close to the IPCC best estimate of 3°C."

As noted above, wrong is too weak a term for Michaels claims, so recommended that it be replaced by false as follows:

"This is both wrong false and classic psychological projection"

2012-01-23 05:07:06
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
23.17.186.57

I second Tom's suggestions...I cannot speak to him suggesting changing the 15% to 25% though.

Let this not be a lost opportunity to nail his arse to the wall again for being dishonest.  To this very day deniers are citing Hansen's 'failed' prediction see jdey123's comments on the lates Gleick post at Forbes.

 

 

2012-01-23 10:23:59Tom's suggestions
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.102.70

Good comments Tom, have made those revisions and made the post harsher in general towards Michaels.

The '15%' you note was meant to say '15 to 25%', but I like the idea of using the 25% for a conservative estimate, so I made that change too.

Part 1 goes up tomorrow, Part 2 Tuesday, so if there are any more comments, get them in.

2012-01-23 10:56:53
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
23.17.186.57

Looks good :)

2012-01-23 10:57:21
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
23.17.186.57

oh and one of these

2012-01-23 13:46:33
Tom Curtis

t.r.curtis@gmail...
112.213.206.248

Thumbs up from me as well.  Glad you picked up on that it should be 80% of 4.2 rather than 75% as I had.

2012-01-23 15:45:30
skywatcher

andycasely@hotmail...
122.107.164.176

Had a read of both, and it's thumbs up from me for both, can't think of anything that would significantly improve either post.

2012-01-24 03:53:21Text in link says 1998?
BaerbelW

baerbel-for-350@email...
93.231.181.232

Is there a reason or is it just a typo that the text in part 1 to go with the link to the 1988-rebuttal shows the year 1998?

The first and most egregious of these examples occurred in 1998, when Michaels testified before Congress and deleted two of the three global warming projections from Hansen et al. (1998).

Regardless of what it is, I think it's confusing (at least to me!)

2012-01-24 04:00:22
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

It's a typo, thanks Baerbel.  All these 1988s and 1998s, sometimes a mistake slips through :-)

2012-01-24 04:42:27:) confirmation bias at work
BaerbelW

baerbel-for-350@email...
93.231.181.232

Hi Dana,

one could say that overlooking these types of typos is a real-life example of confirmation bias! I'm sure you checked the post multiple times and always read what was supposed to be written (1988). This is happening for me a lot while writing programs and wondering why the syntax-check keeps showing errors. They are just hiding in plain sight.....