Predicting the bleeding obvious (and getting it wrong)

by Gareth on May 31, 2011

A couple of days ago one of the leading figures in the New Zealand climate crank pantheon, the Climate “Science” Coalition’s very own Bryan Leyland, popped in to Hot Topic and left a comment drawing attention to his new favourite game — “predicting” global temperatures by projecting the southern oscillation index forward seven months. He bases this on the “work” of John McLean, last mentioned here a couple of months ago when I looked at his prediction (happily promoted by the NZ C”S”C) that 2011 will be the “coolest year globally since 1956 or even earlier”. Suffice to say, it won’t be.

Leyland first notes the infamous McLean, De Freitas and Carter paper of 2009, then his own “prediction” that this year’s La Niña would bring a cooling in global temperatures, and then says:

What is remarkable about this is that a retired engineer with access to the Internet has been able to make accurate predictions of future climate. Yet, to my knowledge, no computer-based climate model nor any mainstream “climate scientist” predicted this cooling. To me, this is truly remarkable.

What’s really remarkable is that Leyland is actually only showing his ignorance of some pretty basic climate relationships.

As I commented when McLean et al was published (back in 2009), we’ve understood that the state of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) has an impact on global temperatures for a very long time indeed. The Climatic Research Unit’s Phil Jones showed this in a paper in 19891, and the Swedish meteorologist Hildebrandsson may have written about the idea in the 1890s2. Even more obvious perhaps, for a retired engineer with an internet connection, you can trawl back through the Goddard Institute for Space Studies GISTEMP web site, and find comments about ENSO’s effect on global temperatures. This is what they said a decade ago:

The global warmth in 2001 is particularly meaningful, because it occurs at a phase of the Southern Oscillation in which the tropical Pacific Ocean is cool. The record warmth of 1998, in contrast, was bolstered by a strong El Niño that raised global temperature 0.2°C above the trend line.

Not only that, but GISS has been producing and updating this figure (source) since it was first published in 1999:

GISTEMPFig E201104

The influence of ENSO on global temperatures amounts to common knowledge amongst those who study climate. When a La Niña follows an El Niño, you get a cooling. That’s not news. And when the current La Niña ends3 temperatures will pick up again, and we’ll be heading back into record territory. That’s because the underlying planetary energy imbalance isn’t going away, and the main driver of that imbalance — the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere — is increasing every year. Take a look at another GISTEMP graph (source):

DTs 60+132mons201104

This shows the global average temperature smoothed over 60 months (to minimise ENSO impact) and over 132 months (to reduce the effect of the 11 year solar cycle). There’s only one way that line is heading (barring a volcano or two) and that’s up.

Leyland finishes his soothsaying with a chilling warning:

Records from all over the world show that a long sunspot cycle is followed by cooling in the next cycle and a short sunspot cycle indicates warming. The last sunspot cycle was 12.5 years and the previous one was 9.5 years. The evidence tells us that a 3 year increase in cycle length will result in cooling of at least 1°C. As the total amount of warming that has occurred since the early 1900s is 0.7°C, this is potentially very serious. We could be returning to the conditions in the little ice age.

The only reference Leyland gave me for this assertion was a pdf of one his talks, which contains a few unreferenced slides (it’s turtles all the way down). However, the solar cycle length effect is one of the oldest and most effectively debunked theories offered by sceptics, as this page at Skeptical Science points out. On that flimsy basis, Leyland goes one better than his pal McLean, who you will recall predicted that this year could be as cool as 1956 (not looking good, that one) and warns that over the next decade we might see a return to global temperatures last seen a century ago4. Let’s see what that might look like:

Leylandprediction

McLean’s 1956 prediction was stupidly implausible. Leyland at least ensures that his year to year fall (at about -0.1ºC per year) is within the range of physical possibility, but requires every year for a decade to be cooler than the last if he’s to reach his goal — wiping out 150 years of global warming. Unfortunately, that’s just as implausible because it completely ignores the growing energy imbalance I noted above. That’s not going to change any time soon.

So, in the real world, where might temperatures be heading? Arthur Smith at Not Spaghetti took a look at this a couple of months ago, using statistical models (based on a post by tamino at Open Mind) that account for all the major climate drivers. His “model 1″, with ENSO set to neutral, is plotted in red above. As you can see, after a pause this year caused by the current La Niña, we get back into record territory in 2012. With the current solar cycle ramping up (which increases the amount of energy reaching the earth from the sun), and La Niña ending, temperatures move on up. Barring volcanoes, this where I expect global temperatures to go in the near term.

The lesson here is pretty simple. Leyland is pleased to trumpet his ability to make a trivial prediction because he appears to lack the sort of straightforward understanding of the climate system that would be available to anyone willing to read an introductory textbook. That lack of understanding leaves him prey to any old tosh — which is abundantly available around the crank web. When you rely on the Climate Clueless™ for your science education, you end up looking foolish.

PS: Leyland also reminded me that I had offered to bet against his proposition that world would soon enter a cooling phase. If Leyland is willing to stick with his prediction as graphed above, then I will happily bet $1,000 that the world will not cool by 1ºC over the next 10 years. We might also be able to frame a shorter term bet. Over to you, Bryan.

  1. Jones, P.D. (1989). The influence of ENSO on global temperatures. Climate Monitor 17: 80-89 []
  2. Salinger, J. pers comm []
  3. This year or next, take your pick — Klaus Wolter (MEI) gives a 50% chance of the current event extending into 2012. []
  4. I assume that’s what he means — one degC cooling over the next solar cycle. []

{ 83 comments… read them below or add one }

Bryan Leyland May 31, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Gareth, you do not seem to have established that a climate model or other climate scientists predicted the cooling. That was all that I claimed.

I can now predict that temperatures will return to something like normal–not warm–around the end of the year.

The McLean et al paper did a better job of establishing the delay than any previous paper. I did not–and would not–deny that the general effect is well-known.

When we last talked about the bet, the ball was in your court to decide on which temperature indexes you wanted to use. You are now re-startting the whole thing with a longer timeframe. Not a good look in my world.

Gareth May 31, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Well, Bryan, climate models are not used for short term forecasting (though they are working on trying to make them better in that respect, but it’s not a trivial matter), so you wouldn’t expect them to “predict” next year. And you miss my main point: climate scientists take it as read that a La Niña will cause a drop in global temperature with respect to an El Niño. You might follow some of the GISTEMP links and read the statements there.

McLean et al was so flawed in many respects, and so oversold by its authors, that it attracted a detailed rebuttal in record time.

As to the bet, you need to specify what you mean by “cooling”. If it is the line I show on the graph above, then I’m sure we can find a format that works. Are you saying you’re not prepared to stand by your one degC prediction? And for this year, what do you mean by “normal”. Unless you can define this stuff, we don’t have a bet.

Dappledwater May 31, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Bryan Leyland – “I can now predict that temperatures will return to something like normal–not warm–around the end of the year

Okay Bryan a wager? I predict (based on the DMI last Sept-Nov) that Xmas will see a strong El Nino in place. $100. Do we have a bet?.

Doug Mackie May 31, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Bryan, speaking of dodgy graphs and at the risk of broken recording myself, I am curious to know if you still feel EG Beck is compelling but that you are personally unable to tell if EG Beck is wrong or not. I had a post here on this a few weeks ago.

Bryan Leyland May 31, 2011 at 12:42 pm

I have never made any comment on whether he was right or wrong. All I have said is that it appeared that he has done on the careful research. You, of course, will not regard it as careful. But that is your opinion, not mine.

Gareth May 31, 2011 at 12:45 pm

To develop Doug’s point a little: do you agree with me that John McLean’s “1956” prediction is stupidly implausible? If not, why not?

bill May 31, 2011 at 2:36 pm

I have never made any comment on whether he was right or wrong.

That’s the point. ‘If he is right AGW is dead’. Wow! What could possibly be more important to determine, then? What are you waiting for? Is he right?

Or does the ‘indeterminacy’ magic-bubble burst and everything fall into a sad, soggy little pile if you actually have to inconveniently commit yourself?

Doug Mackie May 31, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Precisely Bill. John Key used the same tactic comparing scientists to lawyers (at about 50 seconds).

Bryan, it is a simple question: Do you believe EG Beck’s ‘results’ accurately show how atmospheric CO2 has varied over the last 180 years?

I am not asking if you think he did some careful work. Anyone with an internet connection could quite easily compile such records. The real trick (oh there’s that word again) is to filter out the dross. hmm kind of like listening to a politician.

As you doubtless recall, Chris de Freitas was finally backed into a corner to state that his initial “reservations” about the methodology of EG Beck had been confirmed upon a closer look. Do you share Chris’ reservations?

Bryan Leyland May 31, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Doug, this is about my predictions are not on Beck. While I realise that you have good reasons for trying to divert the argument, I will not play that game.

The point is: I used the Mclean et al paper to predict cooling. It happened.

The only other person to predict that seems to have been someone on watt’supwiththat http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/04/noaa-enso-expert-odds-for-a-two-year-la-nina-event-remain-well-above-50/

It seems that I vindicated the McLean paper while none of the climate scientists made a prediction of cooling.

When I searched the Internet, I got this:…Scientist predict that El Nina (a weatherphenomenon i don’t entirely understand) has actually cooled the earth in 2010, and once this wears off in 2011 its going to get really hot. Although the message ‘it’s going to be a warm 2011′ might seem appealing to everyone who has just been through the last few months of snow and cold in the northern hemisphere, the warm predictions tell a story of global warming that is becoming more and more evident. http://innovationunit.wordpress.com/2011/01/18/its-going-to-be-a-warm-2011-what-are-you-doing-to-make-a-change/

And this: Warm year passing. by Gareth on January 6, 2011. 2010 was the fifth warmest year in the long term New Zealand record, and December the third warmest, …
hot-topic.co.nz/warm-year-passing/

So Gareth is happy to sound off about a warm year, but doesn’t want to know about a cold one. Go figure

Gareth May 31, 2011 at 7:58 pm

If 2011 is going to be “cold”, please tell me where you expect the global temperature to end up on the GUISS chart (above).

So, please enlighten me. Do you think McLean’s prediction was as “stupidly implausible” as I stated above? If not, why not.

Do you stand by your prediction of 1ºC cooling over the current solar cycle. If not, why not?

Before complaining about the editorial choices I make here, why not enlighten us all. You’re not short of words elsewhere…

Dappledwater May 31, 2011 at 8:21 pm

So Gareth is happy to sound off about a warm year, but doesn’t want to know about a cold one. Go figure

Wonder what Bryan sees when he looks at those graphs above? Is his computer monitor tilted 45° to the right?

Stop playing games Bryan, we know about La Nina, and we know that winter is colder than summer. No great mystery.

And you still haven’t replied to my wager offer. My prediction is based on a peer-reviewed paper which, coincidentally, did predict this years La Nina.

Doug Mackie May 31, 2011 at 9:20 pm

Your continued refusal to answer is all the answer we need.

retsilla June 1, 2011 at 10:08 am

Hang on a minute Bryan, most reputable climate scientists said that 2011 would likely be a little cooler globally than the last few years based on the strong La Nina that existed over Christmas/New Year (and conversely New Zealand might be a bit warmer than normal – note May being the warmest in NZ on record). Unlike some of the Watts crowd etc., they didn’t say it would undo the warming of the past 10, 20, 50 (whatever) years. If 2012 is accompanied by an El Nino event (especially a strong one), then global temperatures are likely to threaten the hot record again. At the moment, I believe the Bureau of Met is predicting an El Nino by the end of the year while NOAA is sitting on the fence and tending towards neutral conditions.

AndrewH May 31, 2011 at 7:54 pm

And this evening on radio nz (17:41pm) whilst discussing the warmest May on record, Niwa now seem the think that La Nina is running out of steam. Does your model predict that Bryan?

Bryan Leyland May 31, 2011 at 8:17 pm

The La Nina HAS run out of steam. It normally does so around this time of the year. Which is why I have already predicted that temperatures will return to about normal by the end of the year.

I did not “predict” that the world would cool by 1°. I said that if the historical correlation with the length of sunspot cycles continues, there will be a cooling of about 1°. The SOI temperature relationship is well-established. The sunspot one is, in my opinion, not so well established.

Bryan Leyland May 31, 2011 at 8:52 pm

“Okay Bryan a wager? I predict (based on the DMI last Sept-Nov) that Xmas will see a strong El Nino in place. $100. Do we have a bet?.

What exactly do you mean by DMI? How is it measured?

I’m happy to bet under properly defined conditions that there will not be a strong El Niño. i.e. the average daily SOI according to the BOM for the period 15 December 2011 to 15th of January 2012 will not be greater than -12. (by greater, I mean the number needs to be -13 or more for you to win.)

Dappledwater May 31, 2011 at 10:29 pm

Bryan Leyland @ 12.03pm –

“I can now predict that temperatures will return to something like normal–not warm–around the end of the year”

Bryan Leyland @8.52pm –

“I’m happy to bet under properly defined conditions that there will not be a strong El Niño. i.e. the average daily SOI according to the BOM for the period 15 December 2011 to 15th of January 2012 will not be greater than -12″

You realize these are contradictions right? Even a mild El Nino will be warmer than normal. So you want to be able to claim that it won’t be warm, while betting that it will be?

Tom Curtis May 31, 2011 at 9:45 pm

Byran Leyland:

“I can now predict that temperatures will return to something like normal–not warm–around the end of the year.”

Climate, we are told, is what we expect, and weather is what we get. Now, unless Bryan Leyland wishes to clearly state that the climate has changed, his “normal” must be interpreted as the mean climate anomaly for the twentieth century, that is to say, an anomaly of 0 (+/- 0.2). So, Bryan, is that what you are predicting by the end of the year – or are you going to straightforwardly acknowledge that what we expect – “normal” has changed over the last half century and is now about 0.5 degrees C warmer than it used to be.

“I did not “predict” that the world would cool by 1°. I said that if the historical correlation with the length of sunspot cycles continues, there will be a cooling of about 1°. The SOI temperature relationship is well-established. The sunspot one is, in my opinion, not so well established.

Well, how sure are you that the sunspot cycle predicts temperature? If we can place a lower on your confidence we can still generate a bet. I am sure I can find backers, for example, to offer you odds of 20 to 1, ie, if you win you get $20,000. If we win, you only pay $1,000. That represents a confidence of 95% or better that CO2 forcing dominates solar forcing sufficiently that the grand solar minimum last year will not result in a drop of mean global temperature by 1 degree over the next 10 years. If you decline to accept the bet, that indicates your confidence that the sunspot cycle predicts temperature (or that solar effects dominate CO2 forcing) is less than 5%. If that is the case, are you again prepared to state that straightforwardly?

Gareth May 31, 2011 at 10:02 pm

Bryan, you still haven’t answered my questions:

Do you think McLean’s prediction was as “stupidly implausible” as I stated above? If not, why not?

Do you stand by your prediction of 1ºC cooling over the current solar cycle. If not, why not?

nigelj May 31, 2011 at 10:45 pm

Bryan Leyland has predicted a cool year form an el nino / la nina cycle, presumeably from studying trends. Thats a usefull thing, but does this prove / disprove the agw theory? No. Does it help predict future temperature trends? No, just blips in the data.

Well actually it helps prove agw to an extent, if the el nino / la nina cycle can be accurately and reliably predicted then it is indeed a repeating cycle of known dimensions, and one that doesnt seem to fit the longer term temperature incline.

Dappledwater May 31, 2011 at 11:09 pm

Nigelj – whaddya mean?

Bryan Leyland June 1, 2011 at 11:04 am

What will disprove AGW is evidence that recent climate change has been consistent with past natural climate changes. Given that according to Prof Jones, there has been no significant warming since 1995 and 2011 will be a cool or cold year, I believe the case against AGW gets stronger all the time.

Do not forget that, about 10 years ago, David Wratt, in a public debate, told me that climate programs were not accurate in less than a 10 year timescale. The 10 years is now up and a serious lack of warming seems to be the current trend. Other climate scientists agree that the next few years might be cold because of the sunspot cycle. To continue to believe in global warming, there should be some evidence that it is happening.

Gareth June 1, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Bryan: you are still refusing to answer my questions.

Phil Jones did not say “there has been no significant warming since 1995″ – he said that the warming since 1995 (to 2009) narrowly failed to meet one test of statistical significance. Please do not repeat tired old misrepresentations of the facts here: it is against my comment policy.

Please define what you mean by 2011 being a “cool or cold” year. Please put it in the context of recent years. You can read them off my graph above.

Finally: please answer these questions.

Do you think McLean’s prediction was as “stupidly implausible” as I stated above? If not, why not?

Do you stand by your prediction of 1ºC cooling over the current solar cycle. If not, why not?

Bryan Leyland June 1, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Phil Jones did not say “there has been no significant warming since 1995″ – he said that the warming since 1995 (to 2009) narrowly failed to meet one test of statistical significance. Please do not repeat tired old misrepresentations of the facts here: it is against my comment policy.
>>>If you think there is major conflict between what I said and what he said, then that is your opinion not mine. I believe that the statements are, for all intents and purposes, identical. You are splitting hairs in a big way.

Please define what you mean by 2011 being a “cool or cold” year. Please put it in the context of recent years. You can read them off my graph above.
>> Below average for the last 10 years.

Finally: please answer these questions.

Do you think McLean’s prediction was as “stupidly implausible” as I stated above? If not, why not?
>>> I see no need for me to answer this question.

Do you stand by your prediction of 1ºC cooling over the current solar cycle. If not, why not?
>> I did not make such a “prediction”. I carefully said that if historical trends are followed…

As I have been uniformly polite towards you and to other correspondents, and because my prediction that cooling would set in before 2011 was exactly correct, I would appreciate it if you would stop calling me a “climate crank”. It is seriously offensive and quite unjustified. I am somebody who holds a different opinion. I am entitled to their opinion. In fact, all I am is a sceptic. You to should be sceptical.

david w June 1, 2011 at 5:09 pm

I’m sort of staggered that you can’t tell the difference between
“No significant warming” and “warming that doesn’t met a particular cut-off point when measured over a particular period of time”.

To make the point bleeding obvious – the trend 1995-2009 isn’t significantly different than 0, but it’s also not significantly different than +0.24 C per century. That’s more than the IPCC projections (though, of course, we shouldn’t take projections over short periods v. seriously).

And for the period 1994-2009 the trend is significantly different than 0. Do you think that’s evidence the earth stopped warming in 1995, or people who cite 1995 are cherry picking dates that fit their beliefs?

Gareth June 1, 2011 at 2:36 pm

I believe that the statements are, for all intents and purposes, identical.

Then you have a serious comprehension problem.

Below average for the last 10 years.

The average for the last ten years is +0.55ºC on the graph above. That is warmer than any year prior to 1998. Not much cooling to be seen in your prediction, except in the narrow sense of a change over last year.

Re: McLean. I ask the question because you rely on his work in order to make your temperature prediction. Why do you not support his “1956” cooling prediction, as promoted by the NZ CSC — of which you are a prominent member?

I did not make such a “prediction”. I carefully said that if historical trends are followed…

Please identify where in the temperature record above we can see evidence of a 1ºC cooling over ten years. In what records can an interested party discover these “historical trends”? If you weren’t making a prediction, why does your web page say:

…this is potentially very serious. We could be returning to the conditions in the little ice age.

You say it’s “potentially” serious. You clearly believe a 1ºC fall in global temp is plausible, or you wouldn’t warn of its possibility. But just how plausible do you believe it to be? Perhaps admitting that doesn’t suit the message you want to promote. Just how uncertain are you, Bryan?

I would appreciate it if you would stop calling me a “climate crank”. It is seriously offensive and quite unjustified.

I use it as a mildly pejorative term, in preference to denier/denialist. The Wikipedia entry is pretty good. Here’s a telling part of the definition:
No argument or evidence can ever be sufficient to make a crank abandon his belief.
In all the years I have followed your activities, Bryan, you have never once shown any change in position either in response to reasoned debate or changing evidence. All I see is someone banging a tired old drum, recycling the same old talking points (see above). Just what would change your mind, Bryan? When will you accept the multitude of evidence around us, and start considering how we solve this problem?

I won’t hold my breath.

Bryan Leyland June 1, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Continued warming together with convincing evidence that it is man-made would make me change my views.

Gareth, you have never once shown any change in position either in response to reasoned debate or changing evidence.

Gareth June 1, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Once again, you avoid answering the key questions!

How log does warming have to continue, Bryan, before you will act we need to act?

What constitutes “convincing evidence” of causation? We know where the CO2 is coming from. We understand the radiation physics very well indeed.

My position is clear enough. I accept the balance of evidence carefully assembled by the scientific community. If that changes, then I will change my mind. Unfortunately, my reading of the evidence that’s emerged since I wrote my book is that things are getting much worse, more quickly than many expected. And that’s not being alarmist, that’s genuinely alarming.

PS: The day that I get “reasoned debate” from members of the NZ CSC will be a red letter day. It’s simply not possible to have a reasoned debate with people who prefer to sue scientists. How’s that going by the way?

Bryan Leyland June 1, 2011 at 4:01 pm

How log does warming have to continue, Bryan, before you will act we need to act?
>>It’s not just the (currently non-existent) warming, it’s demonstrating that it’s man-made.

What constitutes “convincing evidence” of causation? We know where the CO2 is coming from. We understand the radiation physics very well indeed.
>>If you do, you are ahead of the IPCC. Their table shows a significant lack of understanding of many key features.

My position is clear enough. I accept the balance of evidence carefully assembled by the scientific community.
>> to be exact, one part of the scientific community. The part that is employed to investigate dangerous man made global warming, not to question whether or not it exists.

If that changes, then I will change my mind. Unfortunately, my reading of the evidence that’s emerged since I wrote my book is that things are getting much worse, more quickly than many expected. And that’s not being alarmist, that’s genuinely alarming.
>>> I have no idea what you are alarmed about. If you’re worried about cooling, I would understand.

Gareth June 1, 2011 at 5:02 pm

There you go, Bryan, proving my point. You are simply denying the evidence. Warming is “non-existent”. You cherry-pick a table from an IPCC report and misinterpret it. You downplay the mainstream view and play up the fringe, and so on. And your final quip is risible, because it depends on a wholesale denial of the evidence. That’s not reasoned debate, because you simply fail to acknowledge any common ground.

And you still fail to answer my question about McLean! Your failure to defend your colleague speaks volumes…

Macro June 1, 2011 at 5:54 pm

“My position is clear enough. I accept the balance of evidence carefully assembled by the scientific community.
>> to be exact, one part of the scientific community. The part that is employed to investigate dangerous man made global warming, not to question whether or not it exists.”

Are you saying that in the late 1970’s early 1980’s Jim Salinger, James Hansen et al were employed to investigate dangerous man made global warming? Of course you couldn’t be more wrong! And you should know that.
I knew Jim during that time when he was writing his thesis. He was then working in Wellington. I have to tell you that at that time he was unsure as to whether there was any warming let alone significant warming. Such is not the case today. The evidence is only too clear! These scientists were not employed specifically to investigate dangerous climate change. To say so borders on slander. It is certainly highly inaccurate and far from the truth. That they came to the realisation that the earth was showing significant warming was as a result of their work as climate scientists almost a decade or more AFTER their initial studies on climate.

Thomas June 1, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Bryan Leyland:

Gareth here has placed the graph of the 60 month and 132 month running averages of the Global Land Ocean temperature index into his post above.

You are an engineer and are perfectly capable to interpret this graph. So my simple question to you is this:

What do you see in this graph?

I am looking forward to your response.

Thomas

Tom Curtis June 1, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Bryan Leyland:

“What will disprove AGW is evidence that recent climate change has been consistent with past natural climate changes.”

What a load of hogwash. This is the equivalent to arguing that because tornadoes have been shown to move man made objects more than 37 meters through the air, claims that the Wright Flier flew 37 meters because it was powered are disproved.

By the way, I am still waiting on a response to the modified betting terms I posted above. As you have obviously now read them, your failure to respond is appropriately interpreted as your lacking confidence in the ideas you attempt to persuade people of.

nigelj June 1, 2011 at 10:41 pm

Bryan Leyland

You say or imply there has been no warming post 1998. I have looked at and compared the giss, hadcrut, and uah data, all of which have trend lines superimposed on them, and these lines is go up past 1998 in all those datasets. Are you saying the various statisticians who compiled those graphs all got a basic trend line wrong?

I have looked at the ocean heat content anomaly and it is going up past 1998 to 2005 for surface data. For deep water data is goes up to about this year. The sceptics say this is the best data as most heat energy is absorbed by the oceans.

Im looking at the radiative heat loss data at the top of the atmosphere and the trend line goes up well past 1998.

Im completely mystified as to why you think its been flat or cooling over the last decade. Im also mystified as to why you pick a decade as a critical timeframe. The IPCC has specifically stated in early reports that you will get cooling periods of up to ten years due to variation in the sunspot cycle. Therefore you need a longer term trend.

There are various flat periods in both the temperature data and ocean heat content anomaly for the last 100 years some quite sizeable. Are you saying these mean that the agw theory was false? If so what is driving the longer term 100 year positive trend that has now become apparent?

I dont think its the el nino cycle, as there is no upwards trend in the el nino cycle. I dont think its a solar cycle. think it just might be related to CO2.

Djon June 2, 2011 at 3:49 am

Bryan,

Concerning your statement about your prediction of cooling in 2011 “Yet, to my knowledge, no computer-based climate model nor any mainstream “climate scientist” predicted this cooling. To me, this is truly remarkable.” I think the remarkable thing is that you’re willing to make such statements without having taken the basic precaution of reading what James Hansen published in the last year. Specifically, if you’d read what he posted on his web site last October – http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2010/20101001_SummerTemperatures.pdf – you’d have known that he did predict that 2011 was likely to be cooler than 2010 once it was clear that a La Nina was going to affect much of 2011. He also wrote more than once earlier in the year that this was to be expected if a La Nina developed and that the anticipated cooling effect towards the end of 201 might be sufficient to prevent 2010 from being the warmest year in the GISS record.

Pardon me if I don’t rely on your expressed beliefs as to what mainstream climate scientists have or haven’t done to be accurate. You clearly, despite your apparently strong interest in the topic, aren’t very diligent in using your internet access to keep in touch with reality.

Bryan Leyland June 2, 2011 at 8:59 am

Nigelj
The claim of no significant warming was made by Prof Jones, not me.
A cold 2011 will suppress the temperatures even more.
If CO2 was a significant factor, then the temperature and SOI lines would diverge over time. They don’t.

I now have a lot of engineering work to do so I am leaving this discussion.

Gareth June 2, 2011 at 10:03 am

For the last time, and for the record, Jones did not say there was no significant warming. Here’s the exact question and answer:

B – Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming
Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.

You say:

If CO2 was a significant factor, then the temperature and SOI lines would diverge over time. They don’t.

Here you’re quoting McLean, but you still refuse to support his “1956” prediction, or your own warning of a possible 1ºC fall in temperatures over the next solar cycle.

I suspect the real reason you’re “leaving this conversation” is that you simply can’t cope with rational argument, and prefer to retreat into the little echo chamber you inhabit with the rest of the NZ CSC. The rest of us live in the real world, and will have to deal with the mess you are helping to make worse. Forgive me if I find your position contemptible.

Richard Christie June 2, 2011 at 10:14 am

There is nothing to forgive in that assessment.

david w June 2, 2011 at 12:03 pm

If CO2 was a significant factor, then the temperature and SOI lines would diverge over time. They don’t.

Really? You don’t even need to look at the graph. There is a long term tren in temperature, there isn’t a long-term trend in SOI the “O” bit stands for “oscillation” – it’s energy moving around not energy driving a system in a direction

Between this and your failure to understand what Jones meant in the quote you like so much I’m afraid you really are illustrating the difference between skepticism and crankhood.

bill June 2, 2011 at 11:34 pm

You cannot be serious?

Do you really imagine that anyone who isn’t already a card-carrying member of the denialist club is impressed by any shabby, tendentious deployment of the Jones ‘quote’ – itself the result of a deliberately contrived, and sadly effective, trick to provide what is aptly known as ‘denialist chum’ to slop around for a while in the sordid little cistern that is the ‘skeptic’ echo-chamber.

And what on earth can you mean by the claiming a lack of SOI / temps divergence? As David W points out, what’s an ‘oscillation’, again? How extraordinary!

And do you imagine that we didn’t also notice that you also declined the opportunity to pronounce on the credibility of the Beck material, even though – by your own lights – there could be nothing more important to confirm if it were true?

It’s completely understandable that you’re leaving.

What I do find really hard to comprehend is how any of these ‘skeptic’ causes have managed to garner any momentum at all in supposedly highly-educated, post-enlightenment societies, given the calibre of the material put forward rarely rises above even this standard!

RW June 3, 2011 at 3:38 pm

How convenient for you – now that the idiocy of your claims has been refuted over and over. Feel free to stay away!

nigelj June 2, 2011 at 11:03 am

” If CO2 was a significant factor, then the temperature and SOI lines would diverge over time. They don’t”

Well Im looking at the data above on this page on temperature and soi and they do diverge over time.

Mr Leyland seems to be implying that the soi or el nino is a cause of the last 100 years of warming. The only research is something by De Freitas, and its been refuted. It claims a correlation but one look at its own data and there is no correlation.

I dont understand this fixation on what Phil jones said. There was no statistically significant warming around 1976 – 1986 either, did that invaidate agw theory? No because we stil have a longer term warming trend that is significant and not explained by natural forces. So why would a slightly lower trend line from 1998 – 2010 invalidate agw? Its partly during a solar minimum so you would expect it to be flatter. Isnt that exactly consistent with agw theory?

Thomas June 2, 2011 at 10:58 pm

Leprechauns (not unlike the photo on the top left corner of Brians blog post, just do a google images leprechaun and you will see what I mean) are described generally like this: “A leprechaun (Irish: leipreachán) is a type of fairy in Irish folklore, usually taking the form of an old man, clad in a red or green coat, who enjoys partaking in mischief.”
Well this specimen surely enjoys jumping about in the fairytale land of the NZ CSC.
There surely is no pot of gold where he can be seen digging holes down, down, well above his head now…. at the rate he is going its gonna get hot soon down there…..

robint June 4, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Why are we even interested in what this obdurate old fool Leyland and his head-in-the-sand gang have to say?

Let them shuffle off into the twilight of history like their intellectual forbears, the Flat Earth Society.

bill June 6, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Ah, but it never does any harm to remind the odd lurker or casual browser of just how little intellectual foundation their little ‘movement’ has… ;-)

david w June 6, 2011 at 3:25 pm

This. And for reasons that completely fail me, the likes of Leyland are who the media turn to when they want a counter-point to a climate story.

It’s worth having a record that makes it clear that doing that is about the same as ending a story on a NASA project by asking some bloke in a shed if he thinks it’s possible to put rockets into space.

Bryan Leyland June 7, 2011 at 2:58 pm

A brief return to the debate.
Someone questioned my claim of lack of warming.
If you are interested in hard evidence, here it is.

http://rankexploits.com/musings/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Since20011.jpg

http://www.drroyspencer.com/

Thomas June 7, 2011 at 7:40 pm

Bryan, you are clinging to a thin straw that won’t support your theory nor your weight.

The 11 year solar cycle variation is worth about 0.18 Deg of average temperature change to to bottom. We have just come out of what was an unusually long and deep solar minimum.
While under normal circumstance (before AGW) we would have seen a drop in global temperatures over the past half decade, we saw a steady hot state in accordance to the human caused rise in CO2.

If you overlap the 11 year solar forcing variation on the background trend of AGW you get times where the average temperature goes sideways before going up again. The top to bottom solar fux difference from the 11 year maximum to minimum can also be expressed in years of CO2 increase temperature difference. The outcome is: 7 years of human CO2 increase at rates of the past decade is worth about the same as the variation of the 11 year solar cycle.
The sun is currently coming out of its minimum and warming seems to continue. Europe is experiencing a very early summer. The UK has broken its all time temperature record for the time of the year since records began in 1650 something. A major drought is threatening harvests over much of Europe with devastating outcomes for global food security and prices of basic staple foods which will ad fuel to the fires of discontent already burning across the near-east at present. Expect 2011 to be a record breaker quite possibly and 2012 probably more so.

You can inform yourself about the 11 year solar cycle effect and how it combines with the AGW background here:
http://www.skepticalscience.com/solar-cycles-global-warming.htm

Also you avoid conveniently my hard question: What do you see when you look at the 60 and 132 month running averages plot up on this post here? These time scales of averages smooth out the effects of short term variations such as the 11 year solar cycle so that the actual underlying trend becomes visible, even to the blind….

bill June 7, 2011 at 10:17 pm

This from the man who’s predicting 1 degree of cooling!…

david w June 8, 2011 at 10:30 am

“Returning to the debate” would involve answering the questions that were put to you. Randomly throwing out links you think make your case is more like the Gish Gallop

robint June 7, 2011 at 7:38 pm

Bryan, which part of “the pseudoscience of extracting short-term trends from non-linear chaotic systems” do you not understand?

Do you do numerology and Bible Codes as well?

Byron Smith June 8, 2011 at 11:49 am

This post is good evidence that Leyland’s grasp on various aspects of climate science is tenuous and the subsequent comment thread is ample demonstration of his refusal to answer questions or put money where his mouth is. Classic obfuscation techniques at work.

robint June 8, 2011 at 1:53 pm

That’s right, Bryan, run away and hide lest you be forced to comment on the quite unambiguous graph above.

What a difference removing the short-term oscillations makes; or are you refusing to look, lest, like the Cardinals faced with Galileo’s telescope, your faith be shattered?

Bryan Leyland June 16, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Global cooling is coming!

http://www.thegwpf.org/science-news/3208-earth-may-be-headed-into-a-mini-ice-age-within-a-decade.html

“The big consequences of a major solar calm spell, however, would be climatic. The next few generations of humanity might not find themselves trying to cope with global warming but rather with a significant cooling. This could overturn decades of received wisdom on such things as CO2 emissions, and lead to radical shifts in government policy worldwide. ”

I just thought you might like to know.

Gareth June 16, 2011 at 1:22 pm

And you might like to check your facts: a prolonged solar minimum would make precious little difference to warming over the next century.

bill June 16, 2011 at 4:30 pm

So temperatures will continue to plummet below those of that ‘ice age’ of 1956 we’re going to reach at the end of the year, then?

Isn’t it amazing how stubbornly insensitive the climate is to GHGs, but it can apparently careen wildly all over the place under other influences?

The ‘climate clueless’ really is exactly the right term – at least if one is being polite – isn’t it?

Thomas June 16, 2011 at 4:50 pm

I don’t think this straw will make much of a support for you and your hopes for global cooling. The effects of a solar minimum at best cancel out the effects of CO2 increases of a decade or so plus when the sun then emerges from the minimum the opposite will happen: A rapid catch up of further warming as the CO2 is very long lived indeed plus if you get your will (God forbid) that we carry on enlarging the CO2 content of the atmosphere at current rates well into this century then the solar effects you cite will be totally overwhelmed in any case.
Pick up a Scientific American at the news stand. It has an interesting article on the speed of current warming compared to past episodes.
Also, if global cooling was coming how come we are approaching another devastating heat wave in Europe at present? That after the 2010 heat wave that was the worst in 500 years according to the books?

Macro June 16, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Bryan – take a look at this and tell us how your sudden “revelation” is going to make any difference.

robint June 17, 2011 at 5:47 am

Macro, your link does not appear to be working.

Macro June 17, 2011 at 4:09 pm

OOOOPS! Sorry! The link is this:
http://www.skepticalscience.com/pics/Solar_vs_Temp_basic.gif
says it all really.

robint June 17, 2011 at 5:59 am

Bryan, you deal in irrelevancies because you cannot face up to the uncomfortable truths established through scientific observation and research.

This epitomises not only willful blindness, but moral cowardice.

I just thought you might like to know.

Bryan Leyland June 17, 2011 at 8:47 am

You might be interested in this. From 2009!

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/09/10/svensmark-global-warming-stopped-and-a-cooling-is-beginning-enjoy-global-warming-while-it-lasts/

Note that, as usual I have not stated an opinion. Just presented evidence.

My only opinion is that 2011 will be cool.

bill June 17, 2011 at 11:25 am

Just dropped by for a spot of ‘chumming’, Bryan? 2009 was also the year Easterbrook was seeing evidence of crop failures due to this incipient ice-age, IIRC! Anything interesting happen in 2010, by the way?

This ‘new’ nonsense – perfectly at home at WUWT – has already been dealt with in the responses to the original nonsense you posted, and your response is to ignore the refutations and simply resubmit! This is a standard tactic of those who don’t really have a case; who do you imagine this convinces? Just keep squawking and there must be a ‘debate’, right?

“I’m just saying” is a classic cop-out. Used by dissemblers everywhere.

And how ‘cool’ is cool? 2009 cool? 1956 cool? 1855 cool?

Thomas June 17, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Bryan L: Great that 2011 will be cool! Perhaps you can visit the UK, France or Germany and spread the news to those who lost their 2011 harvest to the heatwave and the drought before the growing season even got into gear….. But please stay around there so that they can nail you to the cross if your kind predictions will not pan out as expected just like the nailed Ken the Ringster in ChCh for his exuberant rants about Earthquakes…. (he said that after April things would quieten down…)

Doug Mackie June 17, 2011 at 8:37 pm

Fancy that: a consultant who won’t or can’t form an opinion.

Bryan Leyland June 18, 2011 at 3:51 pm

This particular consultant is wary of expressing an opinion on things that are outside his field of expertise or experience. The IPENZ code of ethics insists on just that!

BTW, didn’t the N hemisphere have a VERY cold winter with lots of snow? The climate changes – naturally.

But do have a look at this. Quite interesting. Did you know that sun doesn’t only produce heat?

The Demise of Sunspots – Deep Cooling Ahead?
http://icecap.us/

bill June 18, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Aha, you are wary of expressing an opinion outside your field of expertise for ethical reasons but you apparently know better than the overwhelming majority of the world’s climate scientists? So, you possess no sense of irony, then?

You do understand that, being clearly unable to offer any response to the critiques of your ‘sunspot ice-age’ position that have been offered above, you are simply resubmitting the same material and ignoring its refutation? (This time offering a link to what must be the worst-laid out web site I’ve encountered! What is it about contrarians and poor design skills? Love the unreadable charts!)

On this occasion you refer us to work from a man who apparently believes there was evidence of this incipient dramatic cooling in the form of crop-failures in 2009 (last page in the link), and that ‘modern’ temperatures are those of 1855! Do you agree with either of those opinions, or are you not qualified to form one here, either?

The sunspots will not save you. The world is not about to lurch into an ice age, for all the reasons outlined above that you are resolutely ignoring. The idea that the earth could revert to the temperatures of 1956 – or even cool one whole degree! – in the space of this year is ridiculous, and shows a deep-rooted incomprehension of the way the world works which makes both yours, and your associates, claims to some form of higher knowledge in this area even more remarkable!

Don’t get me wrong; as amply demonstrated in the discussion above I am completely confident that none of this will have any impact on you – I write only for the benefit of other readers/lurkers who may come across it.

Here’s one question that these people may like to consider; what do you imagine is going to happen when the sun stops being relatively inactive?

Thomas June 18, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Bryan L: I am glad that you finally concede, even cite the IPENZ, to let us know that you are agreeing with what many here know already, namely that you are unqualified to offer opinions on such matters as Climate change.

We can finally take that as read and greed on all sides and I am sure you might from time to time be remind by others that you said what you said here. So thanks, this makes future discourses on these matters a lot easier for all. I wonder if the NZCSC will call you as a witness on matters such as their law suit against NEWA….. perhaps not I think after today….

I am confident that the IPENZ would encourage its members to heed the advice of those who are qualified to make statements on matters such as climate change such as the IPCC.

I do not believe that IPENZ would encourage its members to peddle the advice offered by minority and contrarian views that are unsupported by the major organizations working in this field.
Citing people such as Easterbrook is similar in fact as citing people like Professor John Searl (http://www.searlsolution.com/) when it comes to the future of electric energy generation…….

CTG June 19, 2011 at 8:22 am

Clearly it is outside your expertise to know the difference between climate and weather.

It is also obviously outside your expertise to recognise that “very cold” and “lots of snow” are not the same thing. Snow is precipitation, and therefore depends on the amount of moisture in the air, which in turn depends on the temperature of the air – warmer air = more moisture. Therefore, “lots of snow” is evidence for warmer-than-usual temperatures. If the “global cooling” you are so excited about was actually about to happen, we should be seeing less snow, not more snow.

But of course, you don’t have any opinion about that. Although curiously, that doesn’t stop you writing newspaper articles about it.

Doug Mackie June 19, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Bryan, so when you hosted a copy of EG Beck’s ‘paper’ at your website and when you said, as you did in the Independent Business Review on 9 May 2007,

Are CO2 concentrations higher than they have been in the last 50,000 years or more? Recent research by Ernst Beck and others casts serious doubts on this.

Beck has analysed thousands of recorded measurements of atmospheric CO2 over the past 180 years.

These show CO2 levels were higher than current levels in the 1930-1940s and around the middle of the 19th century.

This conclusion is backed by independent research on fossilised tree leaves. If Beck is right, the hypothesis that “man-made CO2 causes dangerous global warming” falls flat on its face.

and then said to me (in response to my in print rebuttal of this) that

You state that: “All the “science” in the Leyland article has been easily refuted hundreds of times”. Would you please direct me to the references that demonstrate this? In particular, I would like to see references (more than one) that: show that the world temperature has increased since 1998; show that satellites show MORE warming than does the surface temperature record; show that computer climate models DID predict the 1998 El Nino and the cooling since then; and show that increasing carbon dioxide levels do NOT lead to increased plant growth.

If you are unable to provide this evidence, I shall be left with the conclusion that you have used your position of authority as a post doctoral research scientist to mislead the public. The public, quite naturally, have an expectation that people like you understand and respect the basic principles of scientific research. It seems to me that you have betrayed this trust.

then none of that was expressing an opinion outside your expertise which, it is universally agreed, is profoundly limited?

bill June 19, 2011 at 6:56 pm

For God’s sake; expecting the computer models to have predicted the 1998 El Nino? Yet another example of just not getting it!

And still using the construction ‘if Beck is right’ 4 years later, we note! I think we all know the reason you still can’t offer a definitive opinion on that; the only reasonable answer is the wrong one from your perspective…

bill June 20, 2011 at 3:27 pm

For those capable of absorbing the information, RealClimate has just produced a post on this very issue – what if the sun went into a new grand minimum?

Bryan Leyland June 25, 2011 at 10:12 am

Those of you that are interested in what the climate is doing should be interested in this.
http://www.climate4you.com/Text/Climate4you_May_2011.pdf

The balance of evidence seems to be in favour of no warming/moderate cooling.

Does anyone have any clue on what (unknown?) natural force caused this aberration for the predicted warming?

PS please don’t abuse Ole, all he did was collate the data.

bill June 25, 2011 at 12:24 pm

It’s called ‘weather’.

Can I suggest that given that Bryan has neither the will – nor, on the evidence, even a trace of the capacity – to respond to criticisms of his bizarre suppositions (see anything approaching 1956 on any of those charts, Bryan?) and that he simply drops by to scatter these little squishy nuggets among us and then stages a sniggering retreat like some ADHD schoolboy, that he be consigned to The Twilight Zone along with his peers?

Always fascinating to know what used to go on in contemporary ‘Irak’, of course.

Dappledwater June 25, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Pssssst……Bryan, check out the first figure in Gareth’s post above. Notice all the uppy-downy bits, but a long-term upward trend?

Bryan Leyland June 25, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Someone challenged me to show that that the world had not warmed over the last 10 years. So I have responded.

bill June 25, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Could you really actually be capable of believing that that is what you have done? How extraordinary!

Doug June 25, 2011 at 6:56 pm

First of all Leylands analysis has no scientific validity it is cherry picking of the first water.
Second I went to Goddard and reconstructed the global map and noted that Leyland had rescaled and recoloured the map to make anomalies seem les serious and cooler. For example the Siberian hot spot does not seem that bad.

RW June 25, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Leyland probably has a soulmate in one Kesten Green (of Monash? – no details in the article), whose rant on “alarmism” appeared in today’s DomPost. Bill may be able to tell us more about this character.

Gareth June 25, 2011 at 11:11 pm

Kesten Green is a long time collaborator with J Scott Armstrong. They’re the people who invented their own bogus set of “forecasting principles” and found (well, what a surprise) that climate modelling failed all of them. Can’t find the piece on Stuff/DomPost. If it turns up, let me know…

Doug June 26, 2011 at 11:42 am

Keston Green is an economic forecaster who seems not to be able to distinguish between econometric models that estimate correlations and physical models that are based on the physics (causality) of climate systems.

Yes for all those sceptics that are going to say that these models have stochastic properties that reflects the uncertainity of the estimates measurement of those physical relationships but uncertainty is constained by actual observation.

Bryan Leyland June 25, 2011 at 11:12 pm

Leyland has touched nothing. Didn’t you notice that I had merely given you a web reference? 0 marks for observation.

Did you look at all the references and check them out?

Doug Mackie June 25, 2011 at 11:14 pm

Green ‘published’ in Energy and Environment where he invented a set of criteria for forecasting to show the IPCC didn’t meet his personal criteria. I think tamiano did something on this at the time.

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