# Open Mind

## Cold Hard Facts

#### January 8, 2009 · 68 Comments

Suppose you needed to understand these data:

You’re especially interested in the trend present, so you can have some idea what to expect in the future. You suspect that there’s a downward trend (based on visual inspection of the data), but you’re not sure whether or not it’s significant, or whether the trend might be nonlinear, and you’re not a statistician. So you hire someone to analyze the data, who reports that the proper characterization of the long-term trend is summarized thus:

In fact, he flatly states that there’s no downward trend, as proved by the fact that the value for December of 2008 is about the same (a little bigger, in fact) than the value for December 1979. Then he presents you with a whopper of a bill for his services.

You protest. “That’s not a proper characterization of the trend over time! You’ve just connected two points, which only emphasizes the fluctuations that happen all the time, while ignoring all the other data! You’ve completely mischaracterized the real trend! I could’ve done a better job myself, just by fitting a trend line with ExCel!”

You’d be well advised not to pay for such analysis services. Characterizing the long-term behavior, and what might reasonably be expected in the future, in this way is — well — not smart.

But that’s the new meme du jour in the denialosphere. The headline is “Sea Ice Ends Year at Same Level as 1979.” It seems to have started with DailyTech, then got echoed by boingboing, and has been repeated by many (including here, here, and here). The data are global sea ice area anomaly from satellite measurements. You can see that there might be a downward trend, and any idiot (well, apparently not any idiot) can see that connecting two data points and drawing a conclusion about the trend, or what we might expect the future to bring, is … you get the idea.

Fitting a trend line (with Excel or any other software) is a much better way to characterize the trend. It turns out that the trend is statistically significant (strongly so), so we can conclude that global sea ice area has trended down in the 30 years it’s been monitored by satellites. In fact there’s evidence that the rate of decline has increased, so the downtrend is actually accelerating — but the evidence is not yet statistically significant. We can certainly expect the future to show further decline, and we shouldn’t be at all surprised if it declines even more rapidly than it has so far.

Time to get back to real science. It’s much more fun.

Categories: Global Warming
Tagged:

### 68 responses so far ↓

• Tamino:Funny stuff,and soooooo true! Man that was artistic. Deniers drive me crazy cause unlike Hank Roberts or others, they won’t make an effort to learn. I love it when a blogger says,look that up yourself, which is so true.KIPP

• Tamino.Here are some arguments I get into over at accuweather. December temps?
1.AGW becomes extremely clear once we perform averages of averages of averages.
2.Can north and south america be burdened with local global warming worries while they suffer cold and in some areas.
3.Looks like solutions must be found quickly for Europe and Asia as they appear to be polluting the entire world with AGW.
4.The time to be philanthropic is quickly losing credibility with respect to reducing pollution in less polluted areas to offset another area’s abuse.
5.It is called responsibility, and polluting the planet in order to economically catch up should longer be acceptable by anyone’s standards.
6.Of course, this is true only if there is a real problem …… and maybe December anomalies are only weather?……………..bullmonkey
7.So-called “tech” bloggers that so blatantly twist statistics sicken me.

Tamino,That means you!!!!!!!! KIPP

• koen

This not only happens in the denialosphere. I have seen it happening in faculty, were students fitted a similar trendline to similar data (this was for a master’s degree, not some first-year students not knowing what they were doing).
When asked how and why they got this weird result, the answer was that this wrong trendline matched much better the expectations!

• good post, as always.

i was just fighting a very similar approach. Jennifer Marohasy in this post

http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/2009/01/29-years-of-global-temperatures-based-on-satellite-data/

came to the conclusion, that the RSS temperature data over the last 29 years “does not suggest dramatic global warming. “

when i pointed out a Trend of more than 0.15°C per decade (funny, i used a similar approach like you…), she decided that

I rather agree with John McLean on this issue of trends - it potentially all depends on the time frame you choose. Instead of getting hung-up on the maths - afterall what did Mark Twain say about stats “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics” - let’s just read the graph and agree there has been no dramatic or unusual global warming over the last 29 years?

and

There is no reason to get hungup on the maths - this graph does not need to be reduced to a single value.

so it looks to me, that Tamino is “hungup” in math, and still stuck i “giving a single value to graphs”, while many denialist are in an advanced state, that doesn t need such concepts any longer!

[Response: The quote about statistics is from Benjamin Disraeli (although Twain did comment on Disraeli's comment).]

• The best way to make it obvious that these bozos don’t even believe it themselves is to offer to bet. If they think the trend is upwards, and you think its downwards, there is clear scope for profit.

You’re sort-of glossing over the possibility of different trends in different months though. There could easily be an upward trend in december, but downward in all other months.

• Doesn’t this also have something to do with the fact that what we are really concerned with is summer ice? The “ice free arctic” predictions tend to come with the caveat that they apply to summertime conditions, which caveat the Tech Daily article completely ignores.

Even in the original tech daily graph, it was obvious that summer ice has been in decline.

• TCOisbanned?

Kind of a boring, “explain how somewhere in the deniosphere” is wrong post. Why not dig into the details of the things that are in question.

• Hey, you could connect the low-outlier data point back in ~1996 (the one around -1.5) with the high-outlier point a few months ago (around +0.8 or whatever) and conclude that the whole ocean is freezing over!

Maybe I shouldn’t give people any ideas.

TCO, You know, I’d agree with you, and by his last statement, so would Tamino. There are many more fun and interesting problems to which we could apply our talents. There’s one really big problem, though. The decision makers have in recent years quit listening to the experts.
We are told that recommendations based on the best science are “the opinion of the bureaucracy,” that Intelligent Design should be taught alongside evolution in the classroom, that climate change is a “hoax”. These are not the ravings just of the tin-hat crowd on websites. They’re coming from a President and senators!
I sincerely hope that the current administration will be different. The cabinet picks give hope, but the new President is still a Lawyer with no scientific training. While he seems to relish the advice of experts, it remains to be seen whether he will cleave to that advice when he discovers that so many of the voters are idiots.

• Bob North

Overall, I am with TCO on this - this is really just another stupid is as stupid does post. The post and discussion on the Younger Dryas was much, much more interesting and enlightening.

Relative to the details, I didn’t see anything in the Daily Tech post that made any direct claim about the globabl sea ice trend, just that the level was the same as it was in 1979. Now you could reasonably argue that the implication was there and that it is misleading, but there was no direct statement as to the trend. BoingBoing, on the otherhand, clearly gets it wrong by falsely adding that the sea ice extent is the most in 29 years. Anybody should be able to look at the graph in the Daily Tech article and see that this claim is patently false.

[Response: I agree this is far less interesting to me than real science. But I regularly monitor wordpress posts using the "tag surfer," and there was such an explosion of posts about this that I felt something should be "on the record" showing how foolish it is.

As for dailytech, I disagree that their post is even plausibly, let alone reasonably, innocent.]

• Jim Eager

Re William Connolley: “There could easily be an upward trend in december, but downward in all other months.”

Please tell us you are not being serious.

[Response: I suspect he means that the trend for all Decembers could be different from that for all Julys, etc. It's quite clear that the winter trend in northern sea ice is different from the summer/fall trend, and the same is true for snow cover.

But in fact the December trend for global ice area is also downward.]

• george

Perhaps the saddest part of the “need” to address garbage related to global warming on the web is that at least some of it undoubtedly comes from people who would not get the time of day from scientists in the real world (ie, off the web).

In many (if not most) cases, when someone posts on a blog, you have absolutely no idea what their background/knowledge is on the subject they are posting on. They could very well be in junior high school* for all you know!

While some would say “That’s good because it means the argument will be considered rather than the person making it”, that is only valid to a certain extent.

Some of the arguments that people are making are clearly garbage and people like Tamino do not have the infinite amount of time required to address the specifics of every stupid argument (hence general posts like the one above).

But, let’s be honest, if we had some way of knowing that a particular post declaring that “Global warming stopped in 1998″ came from a junior high student, who among us in his/her right mind would pay any attention to the “argument”? (beyond perhaps politely advising the student to study a little more on the subject and perhaps pointing them to some basic material on the web for that purpose). Who among us would take them seriously?

*PS in case any junior high students are reading this, my purpose is NOT to pick on you or discourage you from reading sites like this. On the contrary, learn as much as you can.

My point is merely to point out that the vast majority of people in junior high have a great deal to learn about science and the likelihood that any one of them is somehow “onto” some huge paradigm-shifting discovery that all of the professional scientists have somehow missed ( eg, “global warming is bunk” or “global warming has stopped”) is close to nil. It may be unfortunate, but it is also reality.

• You gotta love this quote, “Ice levels had been tracking lower throughout much of 2008, but rapidly recovered in the last quarter. In fact, the rate of increase from September onward is the fastest rate of change on record, either upwards or downwards.”

First “cooling since 1998″ disproves global warming, now “best quarterly recovery, evah” demonstrates that sea ice is no longer melting.

I thought that the response of the University of Illinois was rather mild: http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/ (see the “Statement related to Daily Tech article of January 1, 2009″ link), and didn’t address the obvious cherry picking.

• Nice post. I was just wondering where those graphs came from? They weren’t on the Boing Boing post, nor in the Daily Tech article. Both of those stories had a far different graph in them which showed a trend that was not as significant as the one you show. I’ve also updated my post with a link to yours so that readers can see that there is not a consensus on the issue.

[Response: I made the graphs myself using data available from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (there's a link on the Climate Data Links page).

The stories reproduce a graph from Cryosphere Today, which shows the same trend. It's just as significant statistically but not as evident visually, because the y-axis is on a much smaller scale so they can include more information on a single graph.

And there is a concensus on the issue -- among those who know!]

• RE: Bob North // January 8, 2009 at 3:23 pm

I would disagree; the title states, “Sea Ice Ends Year at Same Level as 1979,” subheading: “Rapid growth spurt leaves amount of ice at levels seen 29 years ago,” and this has certainly been interpreted to mean that sea ice is recovering. I didn’t see any disclaimers or caveats in the text. I encountered this at my local newspaper (trying html tags - please bear with me).

• Dano

First,

I hope you get a full-time teaching gig if you don’t have one already.

Second,

This “two dates” tactic is a recent spinoff of … take your pick: cherry-picking or fudging stats.

We have seen this tactic recently with both Arctic ice AND temperatures.

Not sure which think-tank or noise machine outlet started it, but it has legs now. Thank you for the timely debunk.

Best,

D

• Dano

There’s one really big problem, though. The decision makers have in recent years quit listening to the experts.

No.

Only some. Sadly, these were the ones recently in power. Happily, they’ve been shown the door.

Most decision-makers (I know many and advise a few) know the story. Businesspeople too, for the most part.

The issue is the perception that many voters think GLOBUL WARMINS A SCAYUM. This is not true - there happens to be an energetic, vocal minority fringe that don’ want no GUMMINT makin laws.

Best,

D

• Bob North

Tamino (and Deech) - Note that I didn’t say Daily Tech was “innocent” but rather that they made no direct assertions relative to the trend. Even though you don’t state it absolutely directly, you certainly imply in several places that they did make assertions with respect to the trend. What is presented in the DailyTech article appears factual on its face, but might be better characterized as selective reporting (simlar to what I was pointing to over at RC about the nature of press releases from issue advacacy groups).

• Tamino,
I read everything you write but rarely comment. Thanks for this type of post, though I understand that it’s boring to some. It’s a joy to have articles like the Daily Tech’s exposed. From here, I read the Daily Tech article, found the flaws, checked their source and found more contradictions. And regarding their mention of polar bears: they could also have mentioned Canada’s recent interest in controlling the northwest passage, or Russia’s interest in claiming the arctic for their exploitation.

Thank you
John G

• John Mashey

george:
regarding junior high students, you might recall:

Large numbers of people were perfectly willing to believe a 15-year-old had disproved AGW… (or at least promote the ponderthemaunder website),
but it’s possible that such are not regular readers of Open Mind :-)

• Tamino,

• Bah, I was planning on writing up a post on just this subject. I even went as far as downloading the data and doing some simple linear regressions.

Oh well, at least I was scooped by the best. :-p

• fred

Bob North, you have to be kidding me.

“What is presented in the DailyTech article appears factual on its face, but might be better characterized as selective reporting”

Selective reporting?

If someone owned a company whose share price was dropping significantly and they produced an article similar to the dailytech one to convince/trick investors that the share price was not dropping, well I would expect they would be convicted of fraud.

“selective reporting” would be the defense. But everyone would be able to see it’s more than that. You don’t have to directly lie to mislead people.

A great number of people on the internet in recent days have interpreted this dailytech article as showing that arctic sea ice has not declined.

• Michael Hauber

My reading of the cryosphere today chart (tale of the tape) was that 2008 ended with nearly a million square kilometres less ice than 1979. It was in November that sea ice was relatively close to historically normal values, and since has dropped to almost record low values again.

[Response: The Cryosphere Today graph is of daily values; my plots are monthly average data from NSIDC.]

• TCOisbanned?

This whole “they said this, but implied that” is so, so, not interesting. I mean I could play the same game with Mann’s touted 1998 warmest year ever (true, but implying more than it was…blablabla.)

• Post#2.These are real time comments this week from Accuweather.Why tamino’s post is so relevant, is that every winter the denialosphere is in heat because it is cold. They said December temps are such and such or averages are averages never making it to the point. The point is that with global warming, it’s not a 20 or even 60 year trend. TCO would like a five year trend.
KIPP

[Response: Under the circumstances of this post, "averages of averages" are just averages. Since all the 1-year averages use the same number of months, 5-yr averages of 1-year averages are equal to 5-yr averages of monthly averages.]

• Brian

I’d just like to say, as a layman, these posts are fantastic. It might not be as technically interesting to the more advanced visitors to this site, but your “How to not analyze data” and “Stupid is…” articles are great for visitors such as myself, who look at the graphs and think “something looks fishy here,” but don’t have the knowledge (such as needing to normalize data between satellites and ground readings) or aren’t familiar with your data sources.

Please don’t let me stop you from having your fun, but I strongly disagree with TCOisbanned that these posts aren’t interesting or important. Quite frankly, I love your graphs and examples. They make me laugh, and I think they should be art.

• Brian:
If you get the time go over to accuweather blog.They are all deniers, and don’t believe or haven’t learned about AGW. Except for the ones that would like to cut you throat, they are very silly, and very very dumb. KIPP

• Tamino:Since one year averages are monthly averages,just like five year averages are monthly averages, than the 33 year averages are monthly averages.Now 396 months of averages are enough averages for me to make a bold remark. The Ice is melting!! I’m sinking.KIPP

• Tamino:But very seriously we moved our clocks up one second this year, so I guess that means global cooling, right? CO2 absorbs the long IR but it also absorbs the cool IR, from the stratosphere as well as the scattered blue, so you can see CO2, with a periscope. KIPP

• TCOisbanned?

Tamino: Please disown Kipp. He’s like a little babbling lefty version of welovoverocks from CA. He gushes too much.

• Deep Climate

Bob North: “Daily Tech… made no direct assertions relative to the trend.”

TCO: “This whole “they said this, but implied that” is so, so, not interesting. I mean I could play the same game with Mann’s touted 1998 warmest year ever (true, but implying more than it was…blablabla.)”

To me, this makes Daily Tech appear deliberately deceptive, rather than merely cretinous. Since neither adjective applies to Mann, the parallel is misplaced to say the least.

• well, apart from those who just do endpoint comparison and those like Jennifer who don t agree that any statistical analysis is useful, we have the complete opposite as well:

over at deltoid, Jon Jenkins defended his use of a 6th degree polynomial to show a trend on satellite data with the claim:

It follows that the T curve will also be a massive polynomial in (t) and will be best approximated by the largest polynomial possible.

yes, the largest polynomial possible, will give the best approximation.

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/01/the_australians_war_on_science_32.php#comment-1305532

• Paolo Morelli

Tamino: “I suspect he means that the trend for all Decembers could be different from that for all Julys, etc. [..] in fact the December trend for global ice area is also downward”

BTW I did verify, just for fun, that the trend of global sea ice area is negative for each of the twelve months. Strongly so during Northern Hemisphere summer, and much more moderately from January to March, but still always negative.

Sod, I would say that those who contend one can only use statistics to lie have demonstrated either that they have very limited abilities in statistical reasoning or that their own tendency when presented with a powerful tool is to adapt it to mendacity. It is rather like someone being presented with an atomic force microscope and immediately wondering if it could be put to use for counterfeiting purposes.

• B Buckner

Fred:
“If someone owned a company whose share price was dropping significantly and they produced an article similar to the dailytech one to convince/trick investors that the share price was not dropping, well I would expect they would be convicted of fraud.”

So would you therefore also disagree with the following statement? The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished 2008 at a level in the top ten all time annual closes (true) and continues its 30-year long rise.

• Bob North

Fred - Absolutely not kidding. Go back and re-read the Tech Daily article sentence by sentence and point to one statement that is factually incorrect (there are a couple of minor points I haven’t verified, but they don’t pertain to the topic of this point)Please do note my earlier comments regarding the implications and that I wouldn’t necessarily call Daily Tech innocent. Relative to your assertion relative to a company being convicted of fraud for a similar press, I say NO WAY, this is pretty much standard fare for shareholder reports.

Deep Climate - You could certainly call Daily Tech deliberately deceptive, but then you would also have to call Tamino deliberately deceptive for implying that Daily Tech made a direct assertion about the trend. I don’t think I would go that far in either case. Understand that the Daily tech article is selective reporting or spin, if you want to call it that, read both articles with intelligence and understanding of past events, and you can tell where the truth lies.

B. Buckner,
You raise an interesting point. Let’s look at an analogous period. Say you bought into the DJIA in September of 1929. Bad move, right? Yet, 30 years later, you’d be patting yourself on the back. (OK, given how old you’d be, maybe not unless you did a lot of Yoga.) Why is that? Because the fundamentals favored a rising market once the crisis in confidence was over. The question is whether the fundamentals are similarly favorable today. Probably they are not, given Peak Oil, rising economic fortunes of BIRC economies, etc. However, I’m not pulling money our of my 401k either.

In terms of climate, you have to look at the fundamentals as well–in this case physics. There is no physical reason to suggest that warming has stop. There is no statistical evidence suggesting it has in fact stopped. I’d say it hasn’t stopped.

• Hank Roberts

Buckner, 30 years is useful for climate, it’s not arbitrary: http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2009/01/results-on-deciding-trends.html

Do you claim some period is useful for stock market numbers?
http://www.chicagogsb.edu/faculty/selectedpapers/sp16.pdf.

• Jim Eager

Thanks for clarifying, Tamino, now I understand William’s point.

• Luna_the_cat

False statements at Daily Tech article:

“Earlier this year, predictions were rife that the North Pole could melt entirely in 2008.” –Where? By whom? I saw no such prediction by any climatologist….

“Instead, the Arctic ice saw a substantial recovery. ” —Ok, entirely aside from the fact that the writer is apparently deliberately conflating the GLOBAL ice levels with ARCTIC ice levels…..No. Not even vaguely plausible. And since Chapman actually made this clear, he knew better.

How is this not deliberately lying?

• B Buckner, being very clever indeed, posts this satirical gem:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished 2008 at a level in the top ten all time annual closes (true) and continues its 30-year long rise.

Now, of course, 30 years is the period required to see a trend in climate data. A trend. The long-term warming trend in Earth’s mean global annual surface temperature does not mean we will never have cold winters again, nor that people won’t die in cold weather events and avalanches. And the long-term growth rate of the American economy doesn’t mean we won’t have recessions or even depressions. Nonetheless, if the long-term growth rate of the American economy were negative, it would mean bad things for our civilization. Ditto if the long-term growth rate of surface temperature were positive.

Oh, wait. It is.

• Hank Roberts

> how is this not lying

Media law in the US says owners can decide what is presented to the public according to their own values.

Advertising law in the US says advertisers can engage in what is called “puffery” — statements that no reasonable adult would actually believe were meant to be factually correct — to “puff up” what they’re trying to sell. The analogy is the change made by puffing up rice with hot air, or popcorn. Same nutritional value, but crunchier.

Knowing that, look up DailyTech.

Some of what you read is the owner’s opinion, some is puffery, and some residual amount might be true.

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Nick_Schulz

• Dano

re-read the Tech Daily article sentence by sentence and point to one statement that is factually incorrect

Is this a statement of the dependency of the FUD-spreading community on the need for credulous readers, or a damning indicator of the state of the American educational system’s ability to turn out critical thinkers?

Best,

D

• If you stare at enough sea ice maps, what becomes clear is that the difference in December is not in the Arctic Ocean but in the Baltic, and in the Sea of Oshkosh or whatever the area east of Vladivostok is. In September the difference is in the coverage of the Arctic Ocean basin.

• It happened again: while moderating comments I accidentally hit the “delete” button instead of the “approve” button. Alas, wordpress has no function to recover deleted comments.

I’m not sure who the commenter was, not even sure it was on this thread. But if your comment disappeared and you can’t imagine why — it may have been entirely an accident.

• In the Arctic, and all over the Northern Hemisphere ice has been melting.The back of Mt.Everest is snow free, in Montana Glaciers have melted, in the Arctic thin Ice replaces Ice sheets. As the temperatures steadily increase year after year for 150 years what else could one expect.We know that the energy budget
for the Earth shows that more energy comes in, than goes out. We know that when the Earth has 380ppm of CO2, it blankets outgoing long IR. This is a physical reality.Montana’s Glacier Park will have no more ice in 20 years. Canadian forests, dying from the Pine beetle, is another huge loss which was a great carbon sink. As temperatures go up, more evidence of The Beginnings of the effects of Global Warming will become more evident. The Arctic is now the size from the Mississippi to California. It has receded
about one third of it’s former self.The daily tech Graph says nothing,because it does not qualify the difference for Ice skating Ice,and Ice sheets
which are huge. Just like the MWP, this is another small effort to change observational and physical reality to fit the Audience.A small number of discontented computer geeks, is not the audience that Daily Tech needs. Like Moses, it has stretched it’s arms out to every undereducated denier to boost it’s obvious small appeal. Once a week Daily tech offers an anti Global warming article to titillate it’s perspective larger group of fools. KIPP

• Hank Roberts

It takes a little more work, but it will make you much more credible over time if you keep track of what you read and cite it when you write it down from memory.

It will also make it much easier for you and others to check what you recollect and update it.

Assuming you’re using Firefox, you can use this extension: http://www.zotero.org/

Or just keep a book mark folder and keep track of everything you will want to quote later.

Otherwise you may get into difficulty when someone asks you, for example, what you mean by writing

“We know that when the Earth has 380ppm of CO2, it blankets outgoing long IR.” — which might mean something in radiation physics terms, but might not.
or
“This is a physical reality.” — which is a philosophical question or possibly an observation, but since it’s been a long time since Earth reached that point, one would wonder how you’d have known it to be true.

None of us can be experts in very much. It’s tempting to want to be seen as someone who knows a whole lot of stuff. But it’s far more useful to be someone who knows how to start asking good questions in ways that lead to current knowledge we may not have found yet.

• TCOisbanned?

That’s me. Hank, I am a badazz question asker. Have had people like Chefen yell at me and tell me I was an idiot…and then come back a few days later and say, your question led me to a flawed assumption in my logic.

• Hank Roberts

> an idiot … led to … a flawed assumption

And that’s how science can work. An early paper doesn’t even have to be right, if it leads to interesting and productive work investigating the new idea. Of course many early papers never do get cited. That too is how it works.

It’s not enough to be an idiot. What’s important is to be a _useful_ idiot.

• Hank Roberts

Or, in pictures:
http://abstrusegoose.com/strips/pantheon.JPG

• Dano

Sheesh, Hank. I like to think I’m an applied researcher, but I didn’t know about this extension.

You da man. Again.

Best,

D

• Hank:My motive is not to sound more intellegent than you or anyone else, but to
insist on the fact that the Earth is getting warmer rapidly. Every day there are different facets of the Global Warming issue, being brought to fruition. Even the more qualified who remark about climate change, don’t for me, hit home about the meaning of a warming world, or it’s mitigation. If you think that I can argue my points, and also post my sources,I will. I believe in this issue profoundly, and if one John Doe reads my post, and moves a muscle, then I am happy. Hank,tell me what you think about this issue and why sources are so relevant;Thanks,KIPP

• Dano

Hank, just took the Zotero tour. If one of my papers gets accepted for a conf in Berkeley, I’d like to buy you a beer or three.

Best,

D

• P. Lewis

Before Tamino says “enough already with the thanks to Hank”, do check out Zotero folks. Already installed it on my m/c and already being used since Hank mentioned it.

A big hat tip to Hank.

• Hank Roberts: Thanks for your help! For my post about the IR.
Fact of physics,global warming
http://chriscolose.wordpress.com/2008/03/10/physics-of-the-greenhouse-effect-pt-2/KIPP

• Hank Roberts:
Physics of Global warming
http://chriscolose.wordpress.com/2008/03/10/physics-of-the-greenhouse-effect-pt-2/
thanks,Kipp

• Hank Roberts

D - any time!

Kipp — still not sure where you get “380ppm … blankets outgoing …” — we’re abou at 380 now — or what your wording refers to. Maybe just too few words used for clarity? Usually a direct quotation — inside quotation marks — with a cite works to help people find the actual source.

Just to make an example of myself, on this one, I searched Dr. Ritter’s page quickly and didn’t find your source. Looking at Chris’s page (lose the last 4 letters for your link to work), Chris writes there about atmospheres working as “… a blanket to outgoing radiation …” but the “s” makes it a verb and a very different word.

As a verb “blankets” usually means ‘completely’ covers or blocks or obscures. That usage turns up often in mention of an old idea, since found wrong, that at some concentration a “saturation” of the CO2 bands would put a cap on warming. And as we head past 380 ppm toward 500 or more, that ain’t happening.

Just nitpickery ….

———–
Nitpicking — it’s the basic primate social bond (grin)

• Bob North

Tamino - Might have been one of my comments that accidently got deleted. I will try to recreate it.

Luna-the-cat -
re: “…predictions were rife that the North Pole could melt entirely in 2008.” This was actually one of the statements in the Daily Tech article I did not attempt to verify prior to my previous post. However, I have since come across this from NSIDC -

“Taken together, an assessment of the available evidence, detailed below, points to another extreme September sea ice minimum. Could the North Pole be ice free this melt season? Given that this region is currently covered with first-year ice, that seems quite possible. ” from NSIDC 2008 Prediction . So at least one groupd of ice experts predicted the North Pole could be ice free summer. However, I haven’t searched further to see if others picked up on this or independently predicted the same, so I will concede the point.

re: substantial recovery - DAily Tech could easily have been referring to the recovery from the summertime lows as any long term recovery. Spin, yes; potentially deceptive, yes; deliberately lying, probably not.

Dano - Not familiar with the FUD acronym, please explain so I might be able to understand your post (if any of the words are profane, you can just leave the starting letter).

I think that was about the extent of my original post. Now to add-on one point. I am not trying to say that there are not clear implications and spin in their article. Just don’t fall into the same trap and imply that they said something they didn’t. You don’t necessarily want to level the playing field.

• Hank Roberts:Your a nice guy, and I follow your advice. Since I realize I know next to nothing, and as my mother used to say”What grows up can also grow down”my ego is just an acorn, and my knowledge limited.Any advice I will follow, and I have already learned more by touching base with those sources I use. I’ll take your Portrait for your next book.Nitpicking for some, is learning for others. When you offer sources, you have more confidence in your Science. SEE ya! Kipp

• One for your relevant collections:
http://geotest.tamu.edu/userfiles/216/NorthH264.mp4

• Bob North: FUD stands for fear, uncertainty and doubt - there’s a wikipedia entry for it.

Kipp (and anyone else): One of Hank’s characteristics is to ask for sources, and I do the same back on my home message board (in fact, I get chided for my detailed posts). Why? Real science often gets distorted by people who make a claim based on an item in a manuscript (or even worse, a press release of news article) that is disagreement with the conclusions or the overall data of a given paper. Uncovering these distortions and separating opinion from fact are powerful methods.

Science is not a court of law, where only the evidence that helps your side needs to be brought to the fore. Any theory needs to take into consideration all of the data - sometimes there are puzzling data, but explanations are often uncovered in later research; which brings us to another point - important papers tend to get cited. Papers that tell us little or have serious flaws do not (except in rebuttal) (OK - except for my papers, which were in esoteric fields).

One does not have to be a scientist to take a scientific approach to posting. Many of the regulars here have established a great deal of credibility based on their well-researched postings (which reminds me - I haven’t seen much from Timothy Chase lately).

• Bob North // January 10, 2009 at 4:36 am
Luna-the-cat -
re: “…predictions were rife that the North Pole could melt entirely in 2008.” This was actually one of the statements in the Daily Tech article I did not attempt to verify prior to my previous post. However, I have since come across this from NSIDC -

“Taken together, an assessment of the available evidence, detailed below, points to another extreme September sea ice minimum. Could the North Pole be ice free this melt season? Given that this region is currently covered with first-year ice, that seems quite possible. ” from NSIDC 2008 Prediction . So at least one groupd of ice experts predicted the North Pole could be ice free summer. However, I haven’t searched further to see if others picked up on this or independently predicted the same, so I will concede the point.

Actually what was said in DailyTech referred to the ‘entire North Pole’ which conveys quite a different impression to the prediction you quoted which from its original context clearly referred to the region of 90ºN only. A region that was normally covered with thick multiyear ice rather than the thinner single year ice that covered it in summer ‘08. If I recall correctly Serreze estimated a 50:50 chance.

• Philippe Chantreau

Of course, when scientists say that something is “quite possible,” they mean that the probability of it happening is large enough as to be non negligible and worthy to be taken into consideration. In other words, it is quite possible. At daily tech, they understand it in a different way, because they’re, well, whatever. And when scientists studying polar sea ice talk about the Pole, they talk about the Pole. As in: the Pole, not the all Arctic Ocean. At Daily Tech, well, whatever.

Distortion, Obfuscation, Confusion, that’s DOC denial, the doctor with a PhD from the same university than Richard Courtney…

• Hank Roberts

As Deech56 noted above:

(see the “Statement related to Daily Tech article of January 1, 2009″ link)

• Kipp, I hope I didn’t confuse you with perhaps sloppy terminology, though now I am too lazy to even look back at what I wrote. The greenhouse effect being like a blanket is an analogy that breaks down very quickly.

• Gerda

another thanks to hank for the tool :-)

and stick with it kipp. your prose is fine, you have passion. and you’ll learn the referencing and logical thought to go with it.

• stupidhuman

I am puzzled. What is the connection that they are making between sea ice area and climate? Are they comparing only yearly maximum areas? And, isn’t maximum sea ice area more an indicator of “weather” than “climate”? I would be more impressed if they were comparing ice volumes, or even yearly minimums.

I would be interested to play with that data, anyway. I would like to see a plot of yearly minimum area versus maximum area. I wonder if the difference between the two is more indicative of climate change than simple areal? extent.