2011-04-14 08:20:20David Evans article going viral
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
60.231.60.165

There's this David Evans article spreading like wildfire:

http://opinion.financialpost.com/2011/04/07/climate-models-go-cold/

Someone asked me about it on Twitter (or a variation by the same author) and it was just a regurgitation of old climate myths so I tweeted SkS short URLs:

http://twitter.com/#!/skepticscience/status/56108276047294465

However, people keep emailing me about the Financial Post article which apparently has gone viral among the denialosphere (they're that hard up for good content, they'll even take repackaged zombie arguments). I even got emails overnight from prominent climate scientists and scientific organisations. So there seems to be a real need for a direct rebuttal of this post.

I'm tempted to do a similar Gish Gallop post, just linking to our existing rebuttals. But perhaps this needs a more detailed response - perhaps turn it into a teachable moment, find a narrative in Evans' article to expose how deniers mislead. Thoughts? Anyone want this one?

2011-04-14 10:33:05what a twit
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.97.203

Seems that he's equating the water vapor feedback with the hot spot.  If so (I didn't have time to give it more than a quick skim yet), that's incredibly stupid.

I wouldn't mind taking this one.  Won't be able to get to it until the weekend though.  If somebody else wants to take it sooner, feel free.

2011-04-14 12:14:44
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

OFFs, the National Post.....again!

All, these guys have a serious anti science agenda.  I know, I have tried taking them to task...a hopeless endeavour.  Don't forget, Dr. Weaver is suing the bastards, and with good cause.  They are very good at this kind of thing, but alas, it is impossible to hold them accountable...unless one wishes to sue them.  

Surely the CSRRT is going to tackle this John?  I  agree, this needs a thorough and quick debunking.

2011-04-14 13:06:35CSRRT
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
60.231.60.165

No, they're not going to tackle this. They were already asked, they said they don't debunk, they address media errors. Which is a bit confusing, this is a media error but well, they're not doing it and I guess that's why everyone is emailing me asking if SkS will do it.

2011-04-14 13:21:24
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

John,

My understanding is that if a journalist contacts them they will help the journalist.  So how many journalists are in your personal address book?

2011-04-14 13:50:07I got it
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.97.203

It's no problem, I can handle it.  Once you cut through all the bullshit he really doesn't say much that needs debunking.  It's really just "climate sensitivity is low because water vapor isn't a positive feedback because I don't understand the difference between water vapor and the hot spot."  I think I'll rather enjoy highlighting Evans' gross ignorance here.

By the way, does anyone have a recent paper on observations of the water vapor feedback?  I think Dessler may have written one.  A big part of the response will be "hey dummy, observational evidence shows the water vapor feedback is positive."

2011-04-14 14:04:01
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Dana, to my knowledge Dessler (2010) is the most recent one, but there are others...just can't recall right now.  I'll dig around in the morning.  Have you read the comments in the forum below?  Ugh....Evans seems convincing, is telling me what I want to hear, OK no problem, yet another nail in the AGW coffin....or to someone who may be sitting on the fence this is more disinformation which is leading them down the wrong path...sickening really how effective this all is.  

The sad part is that Evans does not even have to be even remotely correct, just sound authoritative and make what seems to the layperson to be a compelling case, and then have the mignons trumpet it far and wide to the gullible masses and presto mission accomplished.

2011-04-14 14:20:29
Ari Jokimäki

arijmaki@yahoo...
192.100.112.210

"By the way, does anyone have a recent paper on observations of the water vapor feedback?"

Yes, more than one actually.

 

2011-04-14 14:20:54It's the Moncktonian gambit
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
60.231.60.165

Sound authoritative, throw in some sciencey terminology and make it sounds like you "get it". Monckton does that especially well, peppering his language with latin phrases and condescension. Plays very well when you also say what the audience wants to hear.

2011-04-14 14:26:28thanks
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.97.203

Thanks Ari, that should take care of the water vapor feedback issue.  I'll choose one or two to highlight and then link to your page for further references.

Alby - no, I'm definitely going to avoid reading the comments ;-)

I started working on the post.  Knowing me (I hate leaving things unfinished), I'll probably get a draft done tonight.  Like I said, it's a really simple one once you cut through the bullshit.  I'll post a link when I'm finished with a draft shortly.

2011-04-14 14:29:36
Ari Jokimäki

arijmaki@yahoo...
192.100.112.210

Dana, Huang & Ramanathan (2008) is one of the more interesting ones - they determine the feedback from spectral measurements.

2011-04-14 14:44:58
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Five stars for Ari!  A lot has been published since AR4.....and the case for a  net positive WV feedback (especially on long time scales) seems incredibly strong right now.

I'm a little confused, is Evans arguing that the WV feedback is weak?  But that would contradict the 'skeptic' mantra that WV is the most powerful GHG and CO2's contribution is negligible?  Seems like another logical fallacy to me.  They cannot have it both ways.

2011-04-14 15:10:52grrr
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.97.203

Crap, this sumbitch crammed a lot of myths into those last few paragraphs.  Not quite as quick of a response as I thought.  Damn those deniers and their gish gallops.

2011-04-14 15:32:31draft
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.97.203

Okay here's the draft.  It's probably a bit sloppy, but I gotta get some sleep.

2011-04-14 16:09:57
logicman

logicman_alf@yahoo.co...
86.145.235.170

dana - the link didn't work for me - guess I need sleep as well!

 

Here are some points I noticed:

1st - this was a speech to a denier rally, see foornote:

"The comments above were made to the Anti-Carbon-Tax Rally in Perth, Australia, on March 23."


Some deniers haven't done their history homework.


"Back in 1980, when the carbon dioxide theory started ..."
1859 - Tyndall
1896 Arrhenius
1899 Chamberlin
etc
etc

"Weather balloons had been measuring the atmosphere since the 1960s"
The first meteorological balloon sondes, or "registering balloons," were flown in France in 1892.
http://www.centennialofflight.gov/essay/Lighter_than_air/meteorology/LTA13.htm

"Human emissions of carbon dioxide were negligible before 1850 and have nearly all come after the Second World War..."
IPCC ARP4
"Global atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide have increased markedly as a result of human activities since 1750 and now far exceed pre-industrial values determined from ice cores spanning many thousands of years"

The industrial revolution began, not with the steam engine but with new mining techniques, new ore-refining techniques and the building of canals.  The growth in the production of iron, steel, non-ferrous metals, cement, pottery and bricks was steepened with every new advance in the underlying technology.  It was the large scale production of quality iron which made the development of the steam engine possible.

The oldest iron works in the US - Saugus Iron Works - dates back to 1645.  Industrial-scale iron making in the UK predates that, as do the industrial-scale potteries - a major user of coal long before the invention of the steam engine.


Since about 1750, CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels and the reduction of metal carbonates have risen almost every year.  After each leap in technology there was a steep upturn in CO2 emissions.

 

It should come as no surprise if I reveal that I have been researching the industrial revolution recently.

Just a little.  :-)

2011-04-14 17:10:00Hotspot, water vapor feedback, and strawmen
James Wight

jameswight@southernphone.com...
112.213.169.2

“Seems that he's equating the water vapor feedback with the hot spot.”

I thought Evans was the one who came up with the hotspot argument? Surely he understands what he is claiming?

This brings up an issue I’ve alluded to before. Jo Nova has complained that our hotspot rebuttal is a straw man because it doesn’t address her claim that the absence of the hotspot disproves the water vapor feedback. Now it seems Evans is making the same argument. Does anybody know where the hotspot argument was first made so we can check what they (Evans? Nova?) originally said?

2011-04-14 17:49:31
Ari Jokimäki

arijmaki@yahoo...
192.100.112.210

It seems to me that Evans - although he doesn't explicitly say so - thinks that "hot spot" actually is hot spot, i.e. region hotter than its surroundings. This is not true view of the situation. It is more correct to call it warming spot, because it is a region that warms faster than surrounding regions, but that doesn't make it warmer than surrounding regions. Lower troposphere still is warmer than upper troposphere, it just cools little less than before when going higher.

2011-04-14 18:47:43
MarkR
Mark Richardson
m.t.richardson2@gmail...
134.225.187.197

He's confusing his feedbacks.

 

The hot spot is from the lapse rate change: the constant <i>flux</i> of evaporating and condensing water vapour which cools the surface by transporting heat away from it. It doesn't say much about the <i>quantity</i> of water vapour in the atmosphere. Contrarians seem to get confused by flux vs quantity all the time :/

All you need is a 1% increase in evaporation over precipitation for a few months followed by a stabilisation at the original evap=precip and you have no hot spot and a lot of extra water vapour.

 

In fact, climate models predict that evaporation will increase at something like 3%/K whilst total water vapour will increase closer to the Clausius-Clapeyron expectation of 6-7%/Kelvin.

2011-04-14 18:53:27Jo Nova & hot spot
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
60.231.60.165

Jo Nova says in her Sceptics Handbook that:

The greenhouse signature is missing. Weather balloons have scanned the skies for years but can find no sign of the telltale hot spot warming pattern that greenhouse gases would leave. There's not even a hint. Something else caused the warming.

2011-04-14 18:58:24
MarkR
Mark Richardson
m.t.richardson2@gmail...
134.225.187.197

Also, the hot spot is kind of important because due to Clausius-Clapeyron it allows more water vapour to reside up there and add to warming, but remember that it is warming anyway, even without a 'hot spot' so it can take more WV. Models suggest that LR and WV feedbacks are strongly correlated and the total feedback is positive and not related to the strength of the hot spot.

2011-04-14 21:13:13
James Wight

jameswight@southernphone.com...
112.213.169.2

Was it Jo Nova who invented the hotspot argument though?

2011-04-14 21:19:13
Ari Jokimäki

arijmaki@yahoo...
192.100.112.210

I think it was a report by Thomas Karl (from NOAA) et al. published in 2006 that first discussed the tropical upper troposphere problem.

2011-04-15 02:06:13
Rob Honeycutt

robhon@mac...
98.207.62.223

If anyone is up for some fun we have a live one by the name of AL Clark (a wellsite supervisor in Alberta CANADA) on the FT article that John originally linked to.

It's kind of a free-for-all there.  No moderation.  

2011-04-15 02:26:52
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Rob,

I went there, is it not all through FaceBook?  If so, I cannot help.  I am on FB, but prefer, for now at least to remain anon.

Alby

PS: Albertans have vote din the same conservative government for over 40 years now.  Some are now unhappy with the cons and some are defecting to the equivalent of the Tea Part (aka Wild Rose Party-- they are wild alright).  So if the cons can fix our problems the neocons will....ugh. With that said, don't write off all Albertans ;)

2011-04-15 03:17:59Monckton did it
apsmith
Arthur Smith
arthurpsmith@gmail...
149.28.3.26

I'm pretty sure Monckton was the one who originated the misleading term "hot spot" for this effect:

http://bbickmore.wordpress.com/lord-moncktons-rap-sheet/

(see comments)

"The term “hot spot” does not appear anywhere in this context before September 2007. There are many matches to the query, but they all refer to actual higher temperature regions on the surface, or small regions that are “hot” because of some other special significance (species diversity or something) – or occasionally spots in the atmosphere of other planets. Nowhere can I find the term referring to tropospheric amplification until the following PDF shows up in September 2007:

http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/monckton/whatgreenhouse/moncktongreenhousewarming.pdf

Where Monckton has already mangled the IPCC’s figure 9.1 to his own interpretation (he either completely misunderstood or misrepresented the surrounding text on what the “fingerprint” of greenhouse gas warming was – stratospheric cooling while the surface warms):

“This instantly-recognizable “hot-spot” on the altitude-versus-latitude plot of predicted rates of temperature change is the unmistakable signature or characteristic fingerprint of greenhouse warming which we have been looking for.”

No it isn’t, actually. But Monckton’s characterization here seems to have launched thousands of copycats. I wonder how many are aware of the source of their misunderstanding?"

2011-04-15 05:21:32changes
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.97.203

So do the WV feedback or hot spot sections need changes?  My hand is jacked up, but if someone has a suggested revision, I can copy and paste it.

2011-04-15 05:45:51revised
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.97.203

I tweaked Mark's explanation slightly and added it in.  I think that helps clarify matters.  Any other comments?  Might publish this today.

2011-04-15 06:28:23
Riccardo

riccardoreitano@tiscali...
93.147.82.126

I could not read your post, the link does not work (for me?). Sorry if you already touched these arguments:

- he starts with a clear political issue (the whole second paragraph). Although we do not discuss politics, I think you should highlight it and then switch to the science.

- the key claim where he mixes WV feedback and hot spot is "But does the water hang around and increase the height of moist air in the atmosphere,"

- a bit of background on Evans at DeSmogBlog

Maybe I'll be more specific after reading the post.

 

edit: don't know why but now I can read the post.

2011-04-15 06:53:39post
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.97.203

I also posted it on the blog post forum, so you can try there if you have problems.

2011-04-15 07:07:51
Riccardo

riccardoreitano@tiscali...
93.147.82.126

Section Climate Sensitivity
- the first paragraph is a general introduction and should go before this section
- when you say "there are feedbacks which respond to this warming and amplify it" you should specify that it's the net effect. I'm sure someone would comment that there are negative feedbacks too!

Section UHI
although it's worth reminding that the deniers (formerly) beloved BEST contradicts the surface station projects claims, I'd not rely only on its preliminary results. Many have shown that even using the raw dataset the warming is there and Menne et al. addressed the "photographic evidence" directly.

Needless to say ... well written :)

2011-04-15 07:42:36thanks
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.97.203

Thanks Riccardo, good comments.  I'll make those changes.

2011-04-15 18:19:09Jo & David
Glenn Tamblyn

glenn@thefoodgallery.com...
124.176.171.83

David Evans & Jo Nova (Codling) are husband & wife, partners in a science communications consultancy called ScienceSpeak. And the 'missing hot spot' seems to be their business's principle product. They commonly cross link to each other without spelling out their association. A bit like CO2Science being the Idso's family business...

 

2011-04-15 18:32:16
Glenn Tamblyn

glenn@thefoodgallery.com...
124.176.171.83

John - "perhaps turn it into a teachable moment"

Perhaps the fact that it is a Gish Gallop is the teachable moment. String enough BS together and attempt to deny your opponents a reasonable target to debate against. Also disasemble his use of language, How many times does he say 'they'? Paint him as a crank who paints, and believes in, conspiracy theories.

Divide the scary and effective Climate Skeptics from the mere regurgitators. Try to get this into the HP and maybe as a reply into the FP. If they won't accept it, publicise that fact.

2011-04-16 00:50:29
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Glenn,

Interesting about Evans and Jo nova, that does ring a bell now that you mention it.  

In my experience, FP will in all likelihood won't publish a rebuttal.  But, that works in our favour, b/c then John said that he asked and that they declined = biased media uninterested in science and facts :)  Good strategy IMHO.

Maybe the Guardian will carry this?  They have no trouble calling other media outlets on their nonsense.

2011-04-16 02:31:07MSM
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Only problem is that it's kind of technical and long for the MSM.  That's the advantage of gish galloping - no details necessary, just a long list of scientific-sounding crap.

What do you think John, would any media sources be interested?

2011-04-16 03:00:13
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Dana,

We could write up an abridged version that is not as technical (but still provide a link to the original).

I think that John or someone should push FP for an opportunity to respond first-- get an email from them saying "no", or they might ignore us, same deal.

2011-04-16 03:09:40abridged
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Good idea Alby.  Someone else would have to abridge it - would take me too long with 1 hand.  We could send the abridged version to FP:

"We give preference to letters that refer to a particular article by headline, author and date. Send letters concerning articles in other sections of the National Post, including business articles that appear in the A section, to letters@nationalpost.com. Please include your name, home address and daytime telephone number."

2011-04-16 03:18:03
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

I'm damaged goods with the FP and NP I'm afraid, so it will have to be someone else's name.  Sorry.

2011-04-16 03:33:03name
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

We can use my name and phone, since I wrote the original.  I'll submit if someone will abridge.

2011-04-16 03:48:02
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

OK, great, thanks Dana. I can abridge it, but it will have to be done at night when everyone else is in bed.  I'll do my best to expedite that process though.  Now I really ought to get back to work ;)

2011-04-18 05:05:56
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.97.203
Sounds good Alby, just post here if you're able to get this done.
2011-04-20 11:11:19Sent
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.97.203
FYI, Alby abridged the post and I sent it off to the Post. I'll update here if I hear anything back. The more we can get published in the media, the better.
2011-04-23 01:55:08
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Hi Dana,

So is it safe to assume then that FP ignored your letter? 

2011-04-23 02:39:14yep
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Yeah, I'd say it's safe to assume they ignored me.  No response whatsoever.  So now the question is, do we try to find another MSM outlet to publish this?  Does the FP have a rival perhaps?

2011-04-23 03:20:51
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Their only real rival would be the Globe and Mail, but to be honest, it is hard to determine exactly where they stand on presenting an accurate picture on this file-- they are pretty ambiguous at times.

The Toronto Star might be interested and has the largest audience in Canada, and has been quite good in my experience on being unbiased when covering the AGW file.

Then there is always print media in Oz (John ideas?)-- Evans is in Oz of course.

And then there is the Guardian....

2011-04-23 03:47:25
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

It really is bizarre that a Canadian paper ran a speech from an Australian anti-tax rally.  Are the Globe and Mail Canadian?  Got links?

2011-04-23 07:28:18
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

The Globe and Mail is a Canadian paper, you can find them online here.

Maybe people outside Canada do not know, but the National Post and Financial Post have a long history of being staunch advocates for deniers of AGW.  Dr. Andrew Weaver is currently suing the NP for libel.  They are mean and have a very clear agenda against climate scientists and climate science-- and they are willing to enlist anyone from anywhere who is interested in helping their cause. I suspect that they have quite the social network going that they can draw upon for advice and material.

2011-04-23 08:11:02sent
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Okay, I submitted the letter to the Globe and Mail.

2011-04-23 09:11:02
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Thanks Dana, fun and games eh?  Sigh.  Might be worth adding a post script to your post stating that the FP ignored you, or something along those lines, just so that the record reflects that the FP are biased and not open to discussing real science.  Thanks again for all your work on this.

2011-04-23 11:22:40Good idea
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.97.203
I don't know how many people will see it, but I'll add that note to the Evans post.