Embarrassing Questions?

June 27, 2009

Today, a new post by Grant Foster (Tamino) has looked at the claim that some have declared that global warming has stopped since 1998. He titled his thread “Embarrassing Questions”. This would have to be one of the poorest threads that this unabashed disciple to global warming has produced. Not because of the statistics (which are ok despite his lack of rigour in not using monthly data), but because of what he had to say about Senator Steve Fielding and one of his advisors Dr. Bob Carter.

Foster claims that Steve Fielding is a fellow “denier” of Bob Carter. Fielding was neutral on this issue until now. The fact is the Steve Fielding (who happens to be a scientist in his own right) is probably the only politician in Canberra (Australia) to actually come from a position of blind belief of global warming to one of informed decision by actually finding out for himself, from both sides of the debate, the state of play with regard to global warming. What Foster does not tell you, is that Fielding when he visited the US he also sought advice from President Obama’s climate change advisors. He was summarily ignored (such is the arrogance of these AGW people).

Fielding met with Australian climate change minister Penny Wong to have three questions on global warming answered. Accompanying him were four scientists; Dr. Bob Carter, Stewart Franks, David Evans and Robert Kinninmonth. With Ms Wong were Australia’s chief scientist Penny Sackett and the head of the Australian National University’s Climate Change Institute, Will Steffen. As the questions were put and discussed, the result was that minister Wong and her advisors had to retire and prepare a formal written reply as they could not answer the questions immediately. So much for easy to dismiss and amateurish questions that Foster implies they are. If the chief scientists and a boss of a climate change institute could not dismiss them summarily then I think Foster has no chance of doing so.

Foster denigrates Carter in particular and cites his and others document in answer to Minister Wong’s replies. Most of the content of that reply to Minister Wong is based in sound science. Foster is just plain wrong and is so because of his own unscientific bias. Foster is a good statistician and a “piss poor” scientist.

Subsequently, Foster proceeds to do a little statistical analysis of GISS surface temperature data to support the argument that global warming has not stopped. Well, I agree with him that if one chooses the period 2000-2009 there is a significant increase in temperature over that period. What he does not show you is that from 2001-2009 the warming stops and is not statistically significant. He has done a little cherry picking himself. The fact is that 2000 was a year when the temperature was very much lower due to the strong La Nina that followed the 1998 super El Nino. It is well documented that strong La Ninas will follow strong El Ninos. Below is the graph for the period 2001-2009 that Foster will not show you (remember, climate does not follow the Gregorian Calendar):

GISS Global Temperature 2001-2009

GISS Global Temperature 2001-2009

This figure shows that the warming trend for 2000-2009 shown by Foster is only significant because 2000 is unusually cold. He even alludes to the fact when he said of his box plots: “The outliers are plotted as small circles. Only the 2000s have a potential outlier; the year 2000 was quite a bit cooler than the rest of the 2000s.” From 2001, the warming trend is no longer significant (GLM p>0.5). The satellite data also confirm this.The caveat on all of this is that, of course, a period of eight years is not enough to confirm climate change. However, if the trend continues as many think it will, here, here and here, then the future is bleak for the AGW lobby.

In summary. His posting is just basically rubbish that is nicely cherry-picked to suit his argument. His assessment of Senator Steve Fielding is from a position of total ignorance of the man. His use of the term “denialist” is the typical mantra of zealous AGW believers to denigrate anyone who questions. He denigrates a scientist in Bob Carter by saying and I quote:

““scientist” Bob Carter. I put “scientist” in quotes because in spite of Carter’s scientific credentials, his statements regarding global warming are so amateurish as to cast doubt on his qualifications to opine on any scientific topic.”

This is a man that has forgotten more science than Foster could hope to fit into his limited intellectual landscape. The amateur is Foster, not Bob Carter. And his thread should be treated with the contempt that it deserves.