Bob’s big lie

homer.jpgTime to revisit events at crank central. In the course of researching the NIPCC (at the behest of Peter Dunne), I popped over to the International Climate Science Coalition site, and then on to their Australian spin-off. The Aussie crank collective is greatly enriched by the presence of Prof Bob Carter, known here as “the great communicator” because of his accomplished presentation skills and ability to make outrageous nonsense sound almost plausible. The ACSC points to Prof Bob’s latest article for Aussie magazine Quadrant, and so — noting that one R M Carter is due to give evidence to the ETS Review committee at some point — I thought I ought to catch up on the great man’s current thinking. Prepare yourself for a jaw/desk interface event:

Get this. First, there has been no recent global warming in the common meaning of the term, for world average temperature has cooled for the last ten years. Furthermore, since 1940 the earth has warmed for nineteen years and cooled for forty-nine, the overall result being that global average temperature is now about the same as it was in 1940.

Global average temperature is now “about the same” as it was 69 years ago? Obviously, the “cooling since 1998” lie no longer cuts the mustard. Bob has to bend the facts beyond breaking point to bolster his case. Here’s the NASA GISS graph:


And here’s the Hadley Centre version:


It is quite clear that global temperature is only “about the same as 1940” for definitions of “about the same” that consider variations ±0.5ºC to be inconsequential. You might as well say that because the world hasn’t warmed by 10ºC then it hasn’t warmed at all. But if you do that, then you can’t also insist that the world has cooled since 1998…

And how on Earth (or off it), did Research Professor Robert Carter of the James Cook University (Queensland) and the University of Adelaide work out that the world has warmed for 19 years but cooled for 49 since 1940? He must have a sophisticated statistical analysis to bring to bear on the topic. Or perhaps he has been counting all the little ups and downs in the GISS graph… Great science, by a great… something or other.

7 thoughts on “Bob’s big lie”

  1. He hasn’t fully explained what is meant by “about the same”.

    According to the Hadley Centre temperatures in 1940 were colder than today, but the difference is not greater than 1.96 times the standard error, so statistically it can not be said with 95% confidence that 1940 was colder than today, so they could be the same.

    The null hypothesis, that the two years are the same, can not be rejected with higher than 95% confidence. His statement that they are “about the same” holds true from a statistics point of view as they are within 1.96 SE of each other. He has not said no warming has taken place, only that the net warming is small.

    However looking at the Hadley Centre graph, the fact that since 1998 every year has been estimated to be higher than every year previous to 1940, on average it is very likely the last ten years were warmer than any previous to 1940. It is a bit irrelevant to say, we can not be sure that 2008 was not colder than 1940, when we can be fairly sure that the last ten years were warmer than the ten previous to 1940.

    He seems to use contradictory logic. In the same paragraph he states that we have cooled for ten years, thus assuming that the readings have no error. Then he says we are about the same as we were in 1940. If we are about the same as we were in 1940, then we are even closer to where we were in 1998.

    It does seem the intention of Mr Carter was to mislead his readers, by spinning data in two seperate directions. Not sure if it is fair to call him ‘crank’, the rest of the article was very good, and the same misleading statements can be found on the pages of this website. Sadly, it is rare to find any commentator who looks at the issue of global warming through an unbiased lens.

  2. Cato, look again at the GISS graph. It includes green error bars (95% confidence) for current temps and the 1940s. The difference between the maximum positive error for 1940 and the minimum negative error for now is over 0.4ºC. You can confidently reject the hypothesis that the two years are the same.

  3. Yeah, so where does Bob get his data from then? thats where that comment came from, are you sure they are 95% bars? (im not trying to argue here, genuinely interested)

  4. Click on the image, it’ll take to the source page at GISS. Poke around in there.

    As to where Bob gets his data from, I’m tempted to speculate that it’s pulled from… but this is a family-friendly blog. 😉

  5. I wonder if it is really worth the effort of worrying about the Prof Bob’s of this world, they are after all only the puppets of the corporation, and will soon enough be steamrolled by events on the ground. The puppet masters are the ones we need to concentrate on, the ones who are quite content to put their pursuit of wealth and power ahead of the well-being of the planet. It’s high time these people were dragged into the daylight and exposed for what they are.
    The thing I find amusing is, that when the crap really hits the fan it will be Bob and his mates who will be thrown to the wolves. You can be sure the puppet masters will deny any connection with them. I wonder how their 30 pieces of silver will protect them then.
    It’s about time we refocused our attack and let nature take its course with skeptic central.

  6. Laurence, I agree with you, but it was nevertheless dismaying to read in today’s Hamilton Press that the University of Waikato is sponsoring a public lecture by Carter in a couple of weeks’ time. The vice-chancellor said “We recognise there are strong views about climate change. Sustainability is one of Waikato Unversity’s distinctive factors but we’re not afraid of generating robust debate through free public lectures such as this.” Perhaps the puppet masters have wangled this. I hope so in a way because if the vice-chancellor thinks there is a real debate here we’re a long way behind facing reality. Incidentally ACT president Gary Mallett has a half-page ad in the same community newspaper denouncing in many words the Church of Global Warming who tried to plunge the world into darkness during Earth Hour and is bent on returning humanity to the primitive. It’s all go here in Hamilton!

  7. That should be interesting Bryan, although I can’t see it as much of an event, it’s more likely to be Bob preaching to the converted. Still it may be worth putting some pressure on the vice-chancellor to put an alternate speaker on the same program, to make sure there is some debate. Make Bob stand behind his claims in front of his own audience. Although, I really can’t see Bob wanting to get involved in any sort of robust debate, he knows only too well his ideas on climate change don’t stack up, and any halfway educated high school student would make mincemeat of his argument. I would think that some vested interest has put pressure on the University in an effort to make their augment sound like it carries some weight. It would be good to know who or what that interest is.

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