Sunday, March 18, 2007

Ray Evans' 'Nine facts about climate change' debunked. Pt. 3.

More Ray. Sad, I know - but we must finish what we begin.
3. The twentieth century was almost as warm as the centuries of the Mediaeval Warm Period, an era of great achievement in European civilisation. The recent warm period, 1976–2000, appears to have come to an end and astro-physicists who study sunspot behaviour predict that the next 25–50 years could be a cool period similar to the Dalton Minimum of the 1790s-1820s.

Like a musician with an extremely limited repertoire, Ray Evans has put his strongest ‘facts’ in positions one and two, with the quality rapidly diminishing thereafter. Considering how screwed up facts one and two are on all levels, that’s really saying something.

Fiction 3 is really just a variation on the ‘hockey stick is broken’ theme that’s been doing the rounds since a political hatchet job on one particular study last year, with the addition of a few random Ray wanderings.

Because this hockey stick silliness has been debunked over and over again of late, I don’t intend to go into it too much. Best to click here.

Ray’s first point appears to be that there has been a great cover up between the first IPCC report in 1990 and the third in 2001. All major multi-proxy reconstructions since 2001 he ignores.

What it all boils down to for Ray is that the IPCC Grinch stole the medieval warm period (MWP), making it currently warmer than at any time in the past 1000 years.

Ray claims:
In particular, the well-known history of the Mediaeval Warm Period, 800 AD to 1300 AD, an era which was warm enough for Vikings to establish a colony in Greenland which lasted for at least 500 years, was to be airbrushed out of the historical record. Also deleted from the record was the Little Ice Age which ran from about 1350 AD to about 1850 AD.
(Notice the MWP ends at 1300 now, not at 1100 as mentioned in Ray’s fiction 1 or 1000 in figure 4. Consistency isn’t his strong point)

So did the IPCC steal the MWP in 2001?

No, of course not.

The non-quantitative graph shown in the 1990 report (and re-created in Ray’s spiel) was gone by 1992. Even in the 1990 report the MWP was never mentioned as global. This link covers the discussion of the MWP and little ice age (LIA) in each IPCC report from 1990 to 2001.

Was the MWP completely gone by 2001? Was it.....airbrushed out?

Well, only if by ‘airbrushed out’ you mean ‘discussed at length’.

As is usual among denialists, Ray assumes that the entire TAR paleoclimatology section is based on the hockey stick graph, which is itself the product of one man; adolfosamastalinghengis Michael Mann. The other authors on the land mark 1998 study get left out of the soundbite as usual. The ‘Mann hockey stick’ indeed.

Firstly, other studies are cited in TAR, and other studies are shown graphically:

Funny how that graph never shows up in the writings of crazies.

Secondly, note Ray’s figure, then look at the actual figure from TAR.

That’s right; Ray has removed the standard error limits to make it look like the Mann et al. reconstruction has specifically ruled out the MWP and LIA.

Is that fraud, do you think?

Now, the sensible thing to do would be to show the results of all the major multi-proxy reconstructions to see if the hypothesis that late 20th century temperatures are warmer than at any time in the past 1000 years is incorrect.

You can see why Ray avoided this:

Ray’s next move is to laud the contributions of well-known shills McIntyre and McKitrick. Instead of posting at length on their mistake-ridden criticisms, I recommend reading this excellent Juckes et al. paper, which succinctly describes their all-too-common failings.

Somehow, all this leads Ray to opine that anyone associated with organising the IPCC should be jailed.
If the IPCC were a commercial corporation operating in Australia, its directors would now be facing criminal charges and the prospect of going to jail.
Rather typical of conservatives I believe.

Next, we have Ray claiming conclusive evidence that it was warmer during the MWP than today. His source (wrongly cited in his references) is Huang et al. 1997, a study based not on multiple proxies, but just boreholes. The problem for Ray is that even the authors now don’t believe boreholes provide high enough resolution data beyond 500 years ago to make concrete claims. All their more recent papers do not look back beyond 500 years into the past. This particular issue was discussed in TAR.

Now we depart from the rest of the world and look at recent Australian temperatures.

Instead of looking at mean temperatures to detect warming in each Australian state, Ray chooses to look only at when the maximum temperature was recorded in each state. If they weren’t recently, that proves it’s not warming in Oz according to Ray (it makes no sense to me either). He didn’t reproduce this graph from some reason:

Then, warming has stopped since 1998.

Wrong (discussed here).

It’s all to do with solar cycles `cause my mate David Archibald says so.

Wrong (discussed here)

And last, but certainly not least, the moronic claim that delusionists often come up with: warm = great human achievement.
It was during this period that Europeans enjoyed agricultural prosperity with an abundance of food and population growth. They made huge progress in technology, inventing, for example, mechanical clocks and windmills, building the great cathedrals, and establishing cities such as Venice, Florence, Milan, Genoa, Amsterdam, and eventually London, which became great banking and trading cities which laid the foundations of Western growth and development.
How is it that always-warm tropical nations do not rule the Earth? I do not know. How is it that the Renaissance occurred during the LIA? I do not know. How did the New World and the Antipodes got discovered and settled during the LIA? I do not know. How did the two greatest scientists of all, Newton and Darwin, make their breakthroughs during the LIA? I do not know.

Maybe, just maybe, the Earth’s average temperature hasn’t had a lot to do with progress, of the lack of it, in individual societies over the past 1000 years. If delusionists weren’t so friggin’ dumb, you’d think they’d make a little more of that point, wouldn’t you?